What is misconduct?

Misconduct in public administration is conduct by a public officer that contravenes a code of conduct, which constitutes a ground for disciplinary action, or other misconduct.

This definition of misconduct is wide and without some direction from the Commissioner, it would capture conduct from a trivial misdemeanour to a major breach.

In the Directions and Guidelines the Commissioner has limited the reporting obligation of public officers, public authorities and inquiry agencies to conduct that is serious or systemic misconduct. If the conduct is not serious or systemic then it need not be reported to the Office for Public Integrity (OPI) and may be dealt with by the public authority in which the conduct occurred.

There are many codes of conduct and whilst they are all expressed in different ways, the spirit is usually that public officers should conduct themselves with honesty, integrity and diligence. We encourage all public officers and public authorities to familiarise themselves with the code of conduct that governs their employment.

A full definition of misconduct in public administration can be found in section 5 of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012.

What is Misconduct? — video

View the transcript (PDF 61KB)


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