Insight into the Code of Ethics in the public sector

On the Couch with Erma Ranieri

The South Australian Government is committed to ensuring that South Australia is a place where people and business thrive. The public sector must serve this vision through a strong culture of service excellence founded on a productive relationship with communities and businesses.

Every public sector leader and manager must play their part.  

Erma Ranieri, Commissioner for Public Sector Employment, has reissued the Code of Ethics for the South Australian Public Sector. The Code of Ethics is the Code of Conduct under the Public Sector Act 2009 and all public sector employees are bound by it. The Code is not a manual of rules and regulations. Instead, it is a principles-based approach to conduct and performance.

Erma was interviewed by Adam Graycar, Strategic Professor of Social and Policy Studies at Flinders University. Professor Graycar has extensive policy experience over 22 years, including as head of Cabinet Office in South Australia (2003-2007), and head of the Australian Institute of Criminology (1994-2003). His current work is on integrity and corruption prevention in Australia and internationally. His latest book Understanding and Preventing Corruption (with Tim Prenzler) was published in the UK and New York in October 2013. He is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Together, Erma and Professor Graycar discussed the challenges for leaders and managers in implementing a principles-based approach to ethical professionalism in times of significant change for the sector and the State more broadly.  

Speaker Bios


Thursday 17 September 2015


PwC, 11/70 Franklin Street, Adelaide SA 5000


10:00 am (registration) 10:30 am - 11:30 am



Erma Ranieri, Commissioner for Public Sector Employment, Office for the Public Sector

Appointed on 1 July 2014, Commissioner for Public Sector Employment Erma Ranieri works passionately to ensure the public sector is a trusted, respected, courageous and honest organisation.

The Commissioner holds a statutory role under the Public Sector Act 2009. The Act outlines principles and guidelines to improve and uphold public sector performance – it is the Commissioner’s role to bring these to life across government.

Erma is working towards creating a world-leading public sector that serves South Australians well, does what it says it will do, and to which every public servant is proud to belong.

Erma has worked for more than 30 years to help organisations optimise productivity and employee wellbeing. She was named 2014 Telstra Business Woman of the Year and SA Winner of the Telstra Community and Government Award for her role in leading transformational change throughout the public sector.

Erma currently oversees the Office for the Public Sector. The Office is responsible for a number of sector-wide reform programs, including Change@SouthAustralia.

Erma will continue to challenge cultural and structural barriers within the public sector to raise productivity and foster excellence. She is leading a cultural shift and creating a public sector that is more collaborative, innovative, and connected to the community.


Prof Adam Graycar

Adam Graycar was a lecturer at Flinders University until his departure in 1980 to become the Foundation Director of the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. In the intervening decades he has held a wide range of academic and government posts. In 2015 he returned to Flinders University as strategic professor of social and policy studies.

He acquired extensive policy experience over 22 years in the senior level posts he has held in government, both Federal and State. His most recent government position was Head, Cabinet Office, Government of South Australia (2003-2007). He also had nine years (1994-2003) as head of a Commonwealth Statutory Authority, the Australian Institute of Criminology a government agency whose task is to provide quality information and conduct policy oriented research, so as to inform government decisions that will contribute to the promotion of justice and the prevention of crime. He was also the nation’s first Commissioner for the Ageing (1985-1990).

Before returning to Flinders his most recent academic posts were Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University, and before that, Dean and Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

He has worked in many public policy domains and his current work is on integrity and corruption prevention in Australia and internationally. He is working closely with international agencies such as the United Nations (UNODC) and the World Bank.

His latest book Understanding and Preventing Corruption (with Tim Prenzler) was published in the UK and New York in October 2013. He is the author of over 250 scholarly publications, and is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.