18 November 2014

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton's conduct was robust.

Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday.

"Roger Sutton made the right decision to resign," Mr Rennie said. 

The State Services Commission (SSC) carried out an investigation into a complaint of serious misconduct by Mr Sutton from a CERA staff member. 

The investigation report was provided to the Commissioner last week.  In large part the report upheld the complaint.   

While the report found that Mr Sutton's conduct did not always meet the standard expected of public servants, it did not recommend dismissal in this instance.

Every State servant must be able to work in a safe environment where they are treated with professionalism and respect," Mr Rennie said.

The safety of all public service staff in the workplace must never be compromised.

"I expect high standards of Public Service chief executives and I take any complaints of inappropriate conduct very seriously," Mr Rennie said.

"Throughout this process, SSC has worked with CERA to ensure the complainant has been supported and will receive any ongoing support required," said Mr Rennie. "As his employer, we have also provided support to Mr Sutton," Mr Rennie said.

To protect the privacy of the parties involved in this complaint and to respect undertakings of confidentiality, the investigation report and details of the exact nature of the complaint will not be released.

If any State servant feels they have been subjected to inappropriate conduct in the workplace they should report it to their manager or Human Resources team.

"I expect every government agency to have clear policies and processes to deal with complaints fairly and confidentially, and to provide appropriate support to complainants and those whose conduct is investigated," Mr Rennie said.

Media enquiries:

Tim Ingleton, SSC Communications, 021 240 7810


Notes for editors:

There are legal avenues available to employees under the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1993.  The State Services has a code of conduct (the Standards of Integrity and Conduct) which requires all State servants to treat others fairly and with respect, and to behave lawfully.

There is specific guidance for both employers and employees. 

  • The SSC has provided guidance on positive work environments and how respond to unwelcome behaviour in the workplace. This can be found on the SSC website and SSC is also available to assist departments with enquires on this topic.
  • MBIE and Worksafe New Zealand have published best practice guidance on harassment and bullying - what it is, what to do about it, and the roles and responsibilities for staff in preventing and responding to these behaviours.

It is expected that departments will have policies and processes in place that encourage and support people to speak up and that deal with complaints fairly and confidentially.  

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