Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 401f. Updated Friday, 21 March 2014

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Finding right person to probe misconduct

The Australian Public Service Commission has issued a new guide for Departments and Agencies appointing investigators into allegations of misconduct.

The Commission developed the guide in collaboration with the Departments of Agriculture, Defence, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Health, Human Services, Immigration and the Australian Taxation Office.

The Guide, entitled APS Code of Conduct: Tips and Traps in Selecting External Investigators, was developed to help staff select and manage the engagement of an external investigator to undertake an investigation of suspected misconduct.

The guide may also assist those who are managing investigations conducted by APS employees, the Commission said.

New PS guide issued

"The objective of the guide is to assist Agencies in managing these investigations in a way that will produce a good quality outcome and represents value for money for the Agency," it said.

The Guide includes advice on the circumstances in which an Agency may choose to engage an external investigator, role definition, contracts, managing performance, training programs and details of joint Agency procurement of services.

An Agency might consider hiring an external investigator when it was cost-effective or if resources were limited, if the allegations concerned issues outside their expertise, and if it would be difficult finding people who would be seen as unbiased.

Another option could be to use an employee from another APS Agency which would have the added benefit of assisting in building capability across the APS, the Commission said.

The guide does not replace the Commission's publication Handling Misconduct: A human resources practitioner's guide to the reporting and handling of suspected and determined breaches of the APS Code of Conduct.

Nor was the guide a comprehensive document on contract management, the Commission said.

The new Guide and Code of Conduct can be viewed at this PS News link.

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