New Zealand is held in high regard for the standards of honesty, openness, transparency and integrity in the public sector[1], 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 sector.

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 sector. 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 sector – organisations will determine whether additional policies and processes are required. All public sector 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.

Speaking up in the Public Sector (PDF, 336kb)

Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act 2022

 

[1] For the purposes of these model standards “public sector” refers to the organisations these model standards have been issued to as set out in section 19(1) of the Public Service Act 2020, excluding school boards and Crown entity subsidiaries. These model standards have also been sent to a number of other public sector agencies.

 

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