Code of Conduct


The General Principles, together with the Code of Conduct are intrinsic elements of the employment arrangements established by the Public Sector Employment and Management Act (the Act).

The General Principles relating to public sector are contained in Part 1A of the Act.  The General Principles are the:  

  • Administration Management Principle,
  • Human Resource Management Principle which includes the Merit Principle and the Equality of Employment Opportunity Principle; and
  • Performance and Conduct Principle.

The General Principles are expressed in general terms and they establish a philosophical framework that informs employees of their obligations and rights. At a different level, the Principles also constitute a set of standards against which agency policies, procedures and other initiatives can be measured. 

On the other hand, the Code of Conduct provides more specific guidance on a range of ethical and moral issues that may effect employees from time to time. Northern Territory Public Sector employees are in a rare position of trust requiring standards of behaviour that reflect community expectations. Wherever possible the Code of Conduct provides practical guidelines on how these ethical standards can be maintained and enhanced.

The General Principles and Code of Conduct are part of the terms and conditions of the employment relationship. As such they are binding on all Public Sector Employees and must be observed by all, including Chief Executive Officers and the Commissioner for Public Employment.

Some agencies may have specific needs that may not be adequately addressed by the Code of Conduct and in such cases Chief Executive Officers may develop agency specific codes of conduct consistent with the Act and subordinate legislation. 

All Public Sector Employees are to read and abide by the General Principles and Code of Conduct and should refer to them as a personal and regular source of reference. 

Employment Instruction Number 12 - Code of Conduct

Ethics in the NTPS

As public servants it is important that we consider the ethical dimensions of the decisions we make. When facing a difficult decision, the NTPS Principles and Code of Conduct is the first point of reference. But sometimes we find ourselves in situations where a code of conduct doesn’t provide the answer. A confidential ethics counselling service is available NTPS staff, free of charge, through the St James Ethics Centre. Contact the Centre directly on 1800 672 303 to arrange to speak to one of their trained ethics counsellors. For more information click here.