The Department of Education is committed to the highest standards of integrity and conduct at every level.
It demonstrates this commitment by including it as a key principle in the department’s Strategic Plan, and by empowering and supporting employees to confidently make decisions aligned with public sector and departmental values and principles.
This focus led to the department introducing Integrity and Governance Reform program in mid-2020, which resulted in significant integrity reforms.
In November of 2020, the department launched the Integrity Reforms – Our next 90 day action plan targeting the below 5 focus areas.
1. Executive selection and recruitment
The department is focused on ensuring that recruitment, selection and appointments to executive positions and senior principal positions are made impartially, meritoriously and in accordance with best practice. New mechanisms introduced, such as:
- mandatory recruitment and selection training for staff chairing recruitment panels
- the requirement that recruitment panels include an independent member who does not have a vested interest in the recruitment outcome
- processes to enable panel members who disagree with a panel’s recommendation or recruitment process to submit a dissenting report.
These mechanisms are reflected in the department’s new online recruitment and selection resource, which has been developed to support panel chairs, members and staff to undertake all recruitment, selection and appointment activities ethically and transparently, regardless of their level of experience.
2. Encouraging a culture of speaking up
The department is committed to the highest standards of integrity and conduct at every level: to act ethically and use resources to support the education of Queensland children and young people. Every staff member, no matter their position or location, has a responsibility to act ethically and to report any suspected wrongdoing, including conduct not consistent with the Queensland Code of Conduct.
The department has introduced an
online form to enable the anonymous lodgement of complaints by employees, students and members of the public, and also invites complainants to consider providing an anonymous email address for return correspondence.
3. Corporate card reform
The risk of funds misuse and fraud when purchasing is reduced through proactive corporate card transaction monitoring and strengthened controls, including mandatory requirements for corporate card and procurement training prior to receiving a card. An independent officer reviews all corporate card transactions.
4. Gifts and benefits
The department has developed a more robust gifts and benefits procedure, including information on gifts given as well as received, and clarifying requirements for approvals and reporting.
5. Raising awareness of conflicts of interest
In Term 3 2020, the department published a suite of integrity-related policies, including a newly developed conflict of interest policy to support clear and informed employee decision-making and the resolution or appropriate management of any real, perceived or potential conflicts of interest.
Progress to date
Following the successful implementation of the initial reforms, the department has made significant progress in the area of Integrity, including:
- Development of an
Integrity Framework, which replaced the previous Fraud and Corruption Control Framework. The Integrity Framework combines the organisation’s structures, systems, values and practices that guide ethical behaviour and integrity in the department, and prevent, detect and respond to fraud and corruption. The Integrity Framework supports the department's continued focus on integrity and provides staff with greater clarity and direction.
- Establishment of the Integrity Fraud and Corruption Committee (IFCC), replacing the Fraud Corruption and Control sub-Committee (FCCsC). The IFCC’s updated Terms of Reference strengthen the department's position on integrity and more accurately reflect the committee's focus on creating and executing the Integrity Long-Term Plan.
- Development of an
Integrity Long-Term Plan for the department. The plan identifies key focus areas for integrity and the prevention of fraud and corruption, and addresses risks identified through enterprise risk governance, audit activity and Crime and Corruption Commission report findings. The plan sets out a timeline to address these areas of focus on a term by term basis from 2021 to Term 4 2023.