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Business Ethics Statement

Our Business Ethics Statement guides commercial partners and suppliers on how to work with us. 

The Department of Customer Service (DCS) is promotes integrity, ethical conduct and accountability in all areas of public administration. 

We rely on the support of commercial partners and suppliers to deliver public value. 

Commercial partners and suppliers can expect DCS employees to behave ethically and comply with the Code of Ethics and Conduct. Employees' refers to all individuals employed, appointed or otherwise engaged. This includes permanent, temporary and casual employees, as well as consultants, contractors and agency employees engaged to perform work for or on behalf of DCS. 

DCS also expects high standards of behaviour from firms and individuals that do business with us. 

What we ask of commercial partners and suppliers 

When doing business with DCS, all commercial partners and suppliers are required to: 

  • comply with applicable NSW Government procurement frameworks, policies, and codes of practice 

  • act ethically, fairly and honestly in all dealings 

  • not offer DCS employees, contractors and consultants any financial inducements or any gifts, benefits, or hospitality 

  • declare actual or perceived conflicts of interest as soon as such matters arise 

  • prevent the disclosure of confidential DCS information and protect DCS intellectual property 

  • assist DCS to prevent fraud, corruption and unethical practices in business relationships by reporting wrongdoing (refer to practical guidelines below).  

Why commercial partners and suppliers should comply 

In order to conduct business in a fair and ethical manner, all commercial partners and suppliers must comply with: 

  • basic principles of probity management  
  • NSW Procurement Board’s Procurement Policy Framework 

  • this Business Ethics Statement. 

Non-compliance with the ethical requirements above, as well as corrupt or unethical conduct, could lead to: 

  • termination of contracts 

  • loss of future work 

  • loss of reputation 

  • investigation for corruption 

  • matters being referred for criminal investigation. 

What commercial partners and suppliers can expect from our employees 

DCS employees are bound by the core public sector values of integrity, trust, service and accountability. 

They are also expected to comply with the Code of Ethics and Conduct, as well as: 

  • ensure decisions and actions are reasonable, fair and appropriate to the circumstances, based on consideration of all relevant facts, and supported by relevant legislation, policies and procedures 

  • accept responsibility and be accountable for their actions in accordance with delegated functions, accountabilities, and the requirements of the Code of Conduct 

  • promote the integrity and reputation of the public sector by always acting in the public interest and not engage in any activities that would bring the public sector into disrepute 

  • treat the NSW Government, stakeholders, clients, suppliers and each other ethically, fairly and professionally 

  • provide relevant and responsive service to clients and customers in accordance with agreed service standards 

  • act with care and diligence, utilising OFS’s resources in a proper manner. 

Practical guidelines 

Incentives, gifts, benefits and hospitality 

Commercial partners and suppliers must not offer or give gifts to our employees and there is no expectation from our employees that any gifts will be provided. Our employees will decline gifts, benefits, or travel offered during the course of their work. Cash gifts or equivalent (for example, gift vouchers) are never acceptable. 

Commercial partners and suppliers must not pay or offer to pay for any form of entertainment for DCS employees. Entertainment includes tickets to sporting or social events, social meals at restaurants, travel expenses to attend either local or interstate meetings or conferences, or accommodation expenses. DCS meets all such business costs for employees. Employee participation in some modest forms of hospitality is permitted where:  

  • there is a clear underlying business purpose exists 

  • it is in the normal course of business 

  • it relates to the work of DCS 

  • it has a public benefit 

  • it is disclosed by the employee. 

Offers, acceptance, and non-acceptance of gifts, benefits and hospitality must be disclosed by employees in accordance with the DCS Gifts and Benefits Policy. 

We acknowledge that judgement by both commercial partners and suppliers and employees needs to be exercised regarding the offer and acceptance of such hospitality – the essence is that it must be modest (both actual and in perception) and not be encumbered by obligation.  It must also not be offered at a time that could raise general concerns about conflicts of interest (for example, during a tender or contract negotiation period). Modest hospitality could include basic refreshments at meetings or a light working lunch. 

Conflicts of interest 

All DCS employees are required to disclose any actual, perceived, or potential conflicts of interest. This includes conflicts of interest that can, or could, arise from personal relationships between our employees and staff of commercial partners and suppliers. This requirement is extended to all commercial partners and suppliers of DCS. 

Sponsorship 

We will not ask for, entertain, or enter into any sponsorship or similar arrangement that is not open and transparent or where such activity creates a perception that it could be part of an attempt to improperly influence decision-making processes. Where applicable, specific policies and processes developed within DCS for sponsorship arrangements are to be adhered to. 

Confidentiality and intellectual property 

Confidential information in any format must be treated as such and protected as appropriate. The specific requirements of copyright laws and individual contracts must be adhered to. 

Communication and cooperation 

In line with applicable NSW Government procurement frameworks, policies, and codes of practice, DCS and commercial partners, contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers will maintain business relationships based on: 

  • open and effective communication 

  • respect 

  • trust 

  • adopt a non-adversarial approach to dispute resolution. 

Private employment and post-separation employment 

DCS require employees must obtain the approval of the Secretary prior to entering into any private or secondary employment arrangement.  Secondary employment will not be approved if it has the potential to create an actual or perceived conflict of interest between the employee’s public official role and their private interests. Our employees are not to use either their position, government information, or intellectual property developed while serving the NSW Government to secure private employment. 

Commercial partners and suppliers must not offer our employees private employment which conflicts with their public duties.  Former employees who have dealings with DCS need to ensure that they do not seek, or appear to seek, favourable treatment or access to confidential information. 

Expectations regarding contractors 

All contractors and sub-contractors are expected to comply with the DCS Business Ethics Statement. Commercial partners and suppliers are responsible for making any of their sub-contractors aware of this statement. 

Public comment 

Non-DCS employees must not make any public comment or statement that would lead anyone to believe that they are representing DCS, or expressing its views or policies. This includes comments and statements at public and community meetings, via the media, or when it is reasonable that comments or statements will become known to the public at large. 

Our employees are not permitted to provide public endorsement, on DCS’s behalf, of companies or their products. 

Public interest disclosures 

We do not tolerate corrupt conduct, maladministration, serious and substantial waste of public money and other forms of serious wrongdoing.   

Commercial partners and suppliers must report all information that they become aware of that they honestly believe, on reasonable grounds, shows or tends to show, serious wrongdoing inside or outside DCS and its related entities. 

Individuals and corporations (and employees or officers of these corporations) engaged by DCS under a contract to provide services to, or on behalf of, DCS are classified as ‘public officials’ under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994. The Act protects public officials from reprisal or detrimental action when disclosing corrupt conduct or other specific wrongdoing in line with requirements of the Act. The Act also ensures that disclosures are appropriately investigated and dealt with. 

Further assistance 

If you have questions regarding this Statement of Business Ethics, please contact: 

Chief Procurement Officer  
McKell Building, 2-24 Rawson Place 
SYDNEY NSW 2000 
Tel: (02) 9372 8652 

If you have concerns about a possible breach or any conduct that could involve fraud, corrupt conduct, maladministration, or serious and substantial waste of public funds, please contact: 

Chief Audit Executive 
OFS Internal Audit Unit  
McKell Building, 2-24 Rawson Place 
SYDNEY NSW 2000 
Tel: (02) 9372 8040 

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