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Ethics in the Workplace

On 8 May 2012, our Ethics in the Workplace forum followed on from the highly successful IPAA events of 2010/11 on the then relatively new Code of Ethics and its effects on the public sector. We explored what the Code means on a day-to-day basis with a particular focus on legal issues that arise when employees misinterpret or do not adhere to the values within the Code of Ethics.

You're welcome to use the links below to access presentations of the topics discussed:
Download the full Power Point presentation here >

The forum was introduced by the Hon Minister Wortley MLC, Minister for Industrial Relations. Warren McCann, Commissioner of Public Sector Employment (who led the development of the Code in 2009) was the MC.

Where then do we stand as employees of the public sector with respect to the law, particularly in relation to Industrial Relations law and other applicable legislation such as OH&S?

How more exposed are we now in relation to emails, texting and social media? Is it appropriate to make a professional decision that will return you personal benefits?

What impact does my conduct have outside of the workplace?

How do we embed the values of the Code within our day to day operations?

Addressing these questions, our presenters and panellists included:

  • Craig Stevens, Managing Solicitor, Crown Solicitor's Office;
  • Elbert Brooks, Executive Director, Public Sector Workforce Relations;
  • Kate Stephens, Director Workforce Relations and Strategy; and
  • Chris Oerman, Executive Director, Corporate Services, Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.

Following the speaking session, a representative of the PSA joined the panel and forum delegates were then given to opportunity to participate in some healthy and spirited discussion!

  Hon Minister Russell Wortley MLC
  • Minister for Industrial Relations
  • Minister for State/Local Government Relations

Before entering Parliament, Russell served as an official of the Transport Workers Union with direct responsibility for Gas Industry employees. He has served on numerous government and community organisations including as a commissioner on the Occupational Health and Safety Commission; a member of the Workers Appeal Tribunal and the Industrial Relations Advisory Committee, and as a councillor on the Prospect City Council.

A Justice of the Peace, Russell's interests include industrial relations, health, environment, sport, education, and social justice issues.
  Warren McCann, Commissioner for Public Sector Employment, Office of Public Employment and Review

Master of Ceremony

Mr McCann began his career in the Australian Public Service managing areas such as Executive Policy, Law Enforcement Policy including counter-terrorism, Federal Police, and Public Order and Police Affairs.

In the 1990s, Mr McCann’s assignments included various senior positions in the Victorian State Government, notably as Chief Executive of the Ministry of Police and Emergency Services, Chief Executive of the Department of Justice and Chief Executive of the Department of Human Services. In the latter role, he was responsible for a budget of $A7.3 billion and 9,500 staff.
In 2000, he crossed the state border to become the Chief Executive of the South Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet. He continued in that role until November 2008 when he was appointed to his current role of Commissioner for Public Sector Employment, Office of Public Employment and Review.
  Craig Stevens, Managing Solicitor, Crown Solicitor’s Office

Craig was a Police Officer for eight years and during the last years of service commenced university study. After some full time study, he worked for three years as an Industrial Officer at the Police Association of South Australia and at the same time finalised his studies on a part-time basis. Craig re-joined the public sector in 1998 and spent brief periods in Public Sector Workforce Relations, Cabinet Office and SafeWork SA in roles focussing on industrial and employee relations policy. He joined the Crown Solicitor's Office in the year 2001 as a solicitor and has been Managing Solicitor of the Industrial and Employment Team since December 2007. He is a member of the executive of the Industrial Relations Society of South Australia.
  Elbert Brooks, Executive Director, Public Sector Workforce Relations

Public Sector Workforce Relations provides whole of government strategic direction and leadership in public sector workforce policies and practices, principally in the areas of public sector industrial relations and wellbeing (injury prevention and management), and also provides injury management services to client agencies.

Elbert reports direct to the Minister for Industrial Relations and represents the CE, DPC as the deemed employer of public employees for the purposes of the Fair Work Act 1994. He has delegations from the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment in relation to a range of matters under the Public Sector Act 2009 and has provided policy and operational advice about that Act and predecessor legislation.

Elbert previously worked as an Acting Assistant Crown Solicitor and Senior Managing Solicitor (Industrial) in the Crown Solicitor’s Office and has also worked in private practice. He has extensive experience in public sector management and legislation, employment law, public law and civil litigation. His qualifications include a Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Business Administration.
  Kate Stephens, Director Workforce Relations and Strategy

Kate’s role covers all aspects of Human Resource management for Shared Services SA’s employees, including organisational development, HR Strategy and HR Support, Employees Relations as well as Occupational, Health, Safety, Welfare and Injury Management. Kate and her team have played a key role in managing the complex workforce issues that go with transitioning large numbers of people into a new organisation and establishing its corporate HR function. Prior to taking on this role, Kate had a 17 year career in the Industrial Relations field. Kate holds a combined Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degree and a Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management.
  Chris Oerman, Executive Director, Corporate Services
Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure

Chris has over 30 years experience in the South Australian public service in central and line agencies leading the corporate function and performing senior roles in human resources, industrial relations and organisational improvement. He is currently the Executive Director Corporate Services in DPTI with responsibility for finance, human resources, procurement, information and communication technology, and governance and audit.

Chris' committee work includes:

  • State Procurement Board
  • Liability Limit Review Committee
  • SAPOL Audit and Risk Committee
  • Chairperson, Across Government ICT Procurement Steering Committee
  • Deputy President of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (SA)
  • Member, Adelaide University Executive Education Advisory Board
Chris relaxes climbing exquisite rock, cycling and refuelling with great wine.