Integrity and conduct

Last updated: 6 November 2015

The integrity and conduct programme aims to build trust by supporting the institutional integrity of agencies and trustworthiness of State servants.


The State Services Commission (SSC) has three main roles in leading the State sector in this area:

  • Setting standards of integrity and conduct that apply to most State Services agencies;
  • Providing advice and guidance to State Services employees on matters of integrity and conduct and;
  • Investigating matters of integrity and conduct in the State Services

Standards of Integrity and Conduct

The State Services Commissioner is responsible for setting standards of integrity and conduct across most of the State Services. He has done this in a code of conduct for the State Services. The New Zealand State Services is regarded as one of the most honest and transparent in the world. Every State servant has a part to play in acting with integrity to maintain New Zealanders' confidence in the State Services. The code of conduct provides the basis for ongoing trust in the State Services.

The code of conduct has been applied to Public Service departments, to Crown entities within the Commissioner's mandate, and to many Crown entity subsidiaries. Staff in those organisations must comply with the standards in the code.

In 2007, 2010 and 2013, SSC conducted a survey of integrity and conduct across the State services. This survey measures State servants' perceptions of trustworthiness, integrity and conduct within their agencies. This information is important for monitoring and maintaining high levels of integrity and good conduct in the State Services. The results of the 2013 survey are available on our website.

Advice and Guidance

SSC provides advice and guidance to agencies on how to interpret and implement the code of conduct in their organisations. 'Understanding the Code of Conduct' explains the standards in the code and what they mean for State servants in practice. 'Implementing the Code of Conduct' provides practical guidance to agencies on what they should do to embed the code into the culture and practices of their organisations.

From time to time SSC provides guidance on specific matters of integrity and conduct. It has a particular interest in safeguarding the political neutrality of the State Services; guidance on maintaining political neutrality can be found on our website. We have also issued guidance on State servants' interaction with social media which reinforces the need to adhere to the standards in the code of conduct when interacting online. State servants interacting with select committees can find specific guidance on this topic on our website.

We also maintain a 'helpdesk' to assist in the interpretation of the code of conduct and provide advice on integrity matters. State services agencies or individual State servants should feel free to contact us for advice by email at or by phone (04) 495 6600.

Investigating matters of integrity and conduct

The State Services Commissioner may conduct investigations and make reports on matters of integrity and conduct across most of the State Services. These inquiries and reviews provide assurance to both the government and the public that the activities of agencies and individual State servants are being carried out within the law and within the bounds of proper conduct.

There is a relatively high threshold for the involvement of the Commissioner in individual matters of misconduct. In the first instance, individual chief executives are responsible for behaviour within their own organisations.

Great Workplaces

Great Workplaces is a project being facilitated by SSC to develop practical support to help foster and strengthen positive workplace behaviours across the State services.

The project is currently focusing on the development of a suite of policy guides and resources that support positive workplace behaviour for all government agencies to use. The first guideline in the suite was published in July, covering sexual harassment in the workplace.

By the end of 2015, the project goal is for all government agencies to have access to best-practice examples and robust policy guides and resources to help all agencies foster positive workplace behaviours.

Related guidance

Bribery and corruption

Fraud and Corruption Policy Framework on the Ministry of Justice website.

Saying no to bribery and corruption publication on the Ministry of Justice website.

Where to report serious fraud, bribery and corruption on the Serious Fraud Office website.

Anti-Corruption training - Transparency New Zealand in partnership with The Serious Fraud Office and BusinessNZ

City of London Police video on bribery and corruption

Bullying and harassment

WorkSafe New Zealand Best Practice Guidelines: Preventing and responding to Workplace Bullying on

Creating a Positive Work Environment - Respect and Safety in the Public Service Workplace on SSC's website

Conflicts of Interest

Board Appointment and Induction Guidelines (2012) on SSC's website

Managing conflicts of interest: guidance for public entities (2007) on the Auditor General's website

Disclosure of Chief Executive Expenses

Chief executive expense, gifts and hospitality disclosures on SSC's website
Discretionary expenditure Controlling sensitive expenditure: Guidelines for public entities (2007) on the Auditor General's website

Negotiations between political parties to form a government: guidelines on support from the State sector (2014) on SSC's website

Guidance for the 2014 Election Period: State Servants, Political Parties, and Elections on SSC's website

Integrity and conduct survey

Integrity and Conduct Survey 2013 on SSC's website

Integrity and Conduct Survey 2010 on SSC's website

Integrity and Conduct Survey 2007 on SSC's website

Open Government Partnership

Learn about the Open Government Partnership on SSC's website

Political neutrality

Political neutrality guidance on SSC's website

Cabinet manual (2008) on the Cabinet Office's website

Protected Disclosures (whistleblowing)

Protected Disclosures Act 2000 on SSC's website

Select Committees

Officials and Select Committees – Guidelines (2007) on SSC's website

Sexual Harassment

Prevention and Response to Sexual Harassment Policy Guideline on SSC's website

Sexual Harassment Reporting Framework on SSC's website

Sexual Harassment Checklist (MS Word, 97KB)

Sexual Harassment Role Card (PDF, 51KB)

Social media

Principles for interaction with social media (2010) on SSC's website

Social media guidance (2011) on

Standards of integrity and conduct

Code of conduct policies and related links on SSC's website: