Employee Code of Conduct

Employee Code of Conduct

Adopted: 12 August 2013

Policy Statement

Scope

The Employee Code of Conduct applies to all Council employees, including temporary and casual employees.

Guiding Principles

All Council employees shall conduct themselves in accordance with the following guiding principles.

These principles do not specify every potential act of behaviour but, rather, establish the obligations generally expected of employees in their relationship with the public, the Council, the Chief Executive and colleagues.

Good judgment, based on integrity, honesty and openness to scrutiny is required in applying the  Code of Conduct to any situation.

Fair:
  • Treat everyone fairly and with respect.
  • Be professional and responsive.
  • Work to make local government services accessible and effective.
  • Strive to make a difference to the well-being of the Thames-Coromandel District and its communities.
Impartial:
  • Maintain the political neutrality required to enable us to work with current and future councils and community boards.
  • Carry out the functions of our organisation, unaffected by our personal beliefs.
  • Support our organisation to provide robust and unbiased advice.
  • Respect the authority of the council.
Responsible:
  • Act lawfully and objectively.
  • Use our organisation's resources carefully and only for intended purposes.
  • Treat information with care and use it only for proper purposes.
  • Work to improve the performance and efficiency of our organisation.
Trustworthy:
  • Be honest.
  • Work to the best of our abilities.
  • Ensure our actions are not affected by our personal interests or relationships.
  • Never misuse our position for personal gain.
  • Decline gifts or benefits that place us under any obligation or perceived influence.
  • Avoid any work and non-work activities that may harm the reputation of our organisation or of the Council.

Any concerns regarding an employee's ability to abide by the Code of Conduct are to be discussed with the appropriate manager or the Chief Executive.

Performance of Duties

Employees shall:

  • Undertake duties in accordance with the legislation administered by Council.
  • Act with integrity in all matters, and show respect and courtesy to all colleagues and customers.
  • Obey all lawful and reasonable employer instructions and work as directed within the terms of the employment agreement.
  • Abide by Council policies and procedures.
  • Not discriminate against or harass any colleague or customer on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, ethnicity, disability, religious or ethical belief.
  • Keep required hours of attendance and have proper authorisation for any leave of absence. This includes phoning in and reporting leave of absence to the appropriate manager as soon as possible.
  • Represent the Council in a positive manner by dressing appropriately for the position.
  • Contribute to maintaining a safe workplace.
  • Ensure work is not be adversely affected by workplace relationships.
  • Not sexually harass any colleague or customer.
  • Resolve difficulties between work colleagues in a positive manner.

Conflict of Interest

Employees shall:

  • Ensure there is no bias or perception of bias in decision making.
  • Inform the appropriate manager if their duties involve matters in which the employee has either a private, family or business connection before taking any action in respect of that matter.
  • Notify their manager of personal, financial or other circumstances which may affect their responsibilities to Council.
  • Ensure any purchase of goods or services for private use are not negotiated or undertaken in conjunction with Council business.
  • Ensure the public has no basis on which to believe that decisions are made or policies are applied unevenly.

Giving and Receiving Gifts

In all instances, the giving and receiving of gifts shall comply with Council's Sensitive Expenditure Policy.

Employees arranging and approving the giving of gifts shall exercise discretion and sensitivity to ensure the gift is appropriate to the situation.

Employees shall not accept any gift, service, or benefit under circumstances where they know, or ought to know, that it could affect their present or future performance and position responsibilities.

Use of Knowledge and Influence

Council employees shall ensure that the use of knowledge, information and influence gained during the course of their duties is beyond reproach, open to the closest scrutiny and complies with the Privacy Act 1993 and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

Employees shall:

  • Ensure privileged information gained as a Council employee, either in the course of duties or accidentally, is not used for inappropriate financial or other advantage.
  • Ensure that any proprietary information that is accessed is not used outside of Council whether or not any personal gain in involved and whether or not the product, system or information is used by Council for commercial purposes.
  • Not use their position as a Council employee to obtain information not normally available.
  • Use information only for the purpose(s) for which it is collected.
  • Not falsify Council records.

Confidentiality

Employees shall:

  • Respect the privacy of individuals when dealing with personal information.
  • Treat any work with care and confidentiality both within and outside Council.
  • Take reasonable care to ensure Council information is not available to non-authorised people.
  • Acknowledge it is unacceptable for employees to make unauthorised use or disclosure of information to which they have had official access.

System Security

To ensure the integrity and security of Council systems, employees will comply with Council's Information Systems Security Policy.

Purchasing and Tendering

Any action taken on behalf of Council in purchasing or tendering for goods and services will not be influenced by, or be seen to be influenced by, private interests and will comply with Council's Procurement Policy.

Official Information Requests

Council is required to comply with legislative requirements when responding to requests for information made under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

Employees will follow the guidelines contained in the Official Information Request Policy to ensure statutory obligations are met.

Council Property

Employees shall:

  • Use Council property for official purposes only and use it reasonably and economically.
  • Not remove Council property from the workplace without proper authorisation.
  • Return all assigned Council property before leaving Council employment.
  • Use Council Warrant cards only for intended purposes.
  • Not use Council stationery or letterhead for private correspondence.
  • Treat all monies collected on behalf of the Council as Council property, taking due care in their collection and receipt and ensuring that they are used for Council purposes only.

Drugs and Alcohol

Employees shall:

  • Not consume alcohol on Council premises except for official or other functions authorised by a manager.
  • Not be under the influence of illegal drugs
  • Not be impaired by legal drugs or alcohol, if such impairment adversely affects the employee's work performance, the safety of the employee or of others, or puts at risk the Council's reputation.
  • Notify the appropriate manager of any other special health circumstances, which may affect their ability to perform the required duties.

Other Employment

Employees shall:

  • Not undertake any other employment or be involved in any other business or voluntary organisation, which has or is likely to have an adverse effect on their responsibilities or could lead to a conflict of interest during the continuance of their employment.
  • Seek written approval from the Chief Executive before outside employment or a voluntary association is undertaken or continued.

Personal Activities

Employees shall:

  • Avoid any personal activities which might bring the Council into disrepute, or jeopardise its relationships with elected members, residents or the general public.
  • Take the following into consideration when deciding whether personal activities bring Council into disrepute:
    • The nature and circumstances of the activity
    • Their position, duties and responsibilities within Council
    • The effects of the activity on their ability to fulfil their duties
    • The effects of the activity or its consequences on Council relationships with its communities or the general public.
  • Discuss with the appropriate manager if they believe personal activities may impact on their role.

Political Neutrality

Employees shall:

  • Remain impartial and without political bias in their work and official dealings with elected
  • members and the public.
  • Not, in their official capacity, obviously align themselves or support candidates, whether an incumbent or aspiring member.

Private Comment

Council employees have the same rights of free speech and independence in the conduct of private affairs as other members of the public. However they also have a duty not to compromise Council by public criticism of, or comments on, policies with which they have been professionally involved or associated.

Employees shall:

  • Make it clear that comments being expressed are personal and do not represent Council policy in circumstances where an employee is likely to be identified as Council staff, and where it could be perceived that their response is an official Council response.
  • Ensure that any contribution to public debate or discussion on policy matters maintains the discretion and neutrality appropriate to their position.
  • If wishing to make a private comment to the elected members about matters concerning Council, address their comments in the first instance to the Chief Executive.

Public Statement

Only employees authorised by the Chief Executive and Group Managers may make statements on behalf of Council. If an employee is contacted by the media but is not authorised to make statements, they should refer the reporter to the Communications team.

However, to avoid any unnecessary time delay, any employee who has written an official,

publicly available document (including reports, letters or memoranda) may confirm or clarify any matter of fact contained in the document when requested by the media to do so or send the document to the media on request.