New Zealand is held in high regard for the standards of honesty, openness, transparency and integrity in the Public Service, but our reputation depends upon our ability to build and maintain a culture that promotes speaking up about wrongdoing.

Good policies and processes that encourage staff to speak up about possible wrongdoing are vital for maintaining the integrity of our Public Service.

These model standards outline the Public Service Commissioner’s minimum expectations for organisations to support staff on speaking up in relation to wrongdoing concerns that could damage the integrity of the Public Service. These comprise all the key elements for promoting a ‘speak up’ culture, operating good processes including timely investigations, and keeping people safe from reprisals or other detrimental impacts.

These are the standards expected of all organisations within the Public Service – organisations will determine whether additional policies and processes are required. All Public Service organisations should ensure that these standards are integrated into policies and processes for reporting wrongdoing within their Human Resource, Employment Relations, and operational management systems.

There are three key elements to these standards:

  1. Getting the foundations right from the start: organisational commitment to leadership, raising awareness, and supporting staff and managers through regular communication and training.
  2. Making sure processes are robust: taking concerns seriously when they are raised by ensuring systems are in place for monitoring, reporting, investigation, and effectively communicating with those involved in a report or disclosure.
  3. Keeping people safe: ensure they can feel safe in making reports, trust that organisations will act upon them, and ensuring that organisations provide tailored and dedicated support and protections to staff to keep them safe from reprisal.

With the introduction of the Intelligence and Security Act 2017, amendments were made to the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 in relation to protected disclosures regarding the activities of an intelligence and security agency or classified information. For protected disclosures relating to these areas, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security is the appropriate authority to which you make a protected disclosure. Guidance relating to this is available on the Inspector-General's website.


Footnote: While the term Public Service is used here, these model standards have also been issued to a number of other public sector agencies.

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