Manual of Policies and Procedures

B/8.1 QUT Staff Code of Conduct

Contact Officer

Registrar

Approval Date

03/12/2014

Approval Authority

Council

Date of Next Review

01/12/2017

8.1.1 Policy principles
8.1.2 Application
8.1.3 Integrity and impartiality
8.1.4 Promoting the public good
8.1.5 Commitment to the system of government
8.1.6 Accountability and transparency
8.1.7 Consequences of non-compliance with this Code
Related Documents
Modification History

8.1.1 Policy principles

QUT expects that all staff members will contribute to the promotion of its values and in the enhancement of its reputation. As a public authority, QUT's staff members have an obligation to conduct themselves and perform their duties in a manner consistent with the ethics values detailed in the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 (Qld). These values are

• integrity and impartiality
• promoting the public good
• commitment to the system of government
• accountability and transparency.

The QUT Staff Code of Conduct provides a framework of ethical principles, obligations and standards to guide the behaviour and conduct of all staff members. It is supported by the values articulated in the QUT Blueprint as well as a number of specific policies relating to staff members’ conduct and performance (related documents).

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8.1.2 Application

The QUT Staff Code of Conduct applies to all staff members, whether full-time, part-time, ongoing, fixed-term, casual or sessional. It also applies to the following members of the University community

• members of QUT Council or other University committees whether they hold office by election, nomination or appointment
• visiting and adjunct academics, or other academic or research collaborators
• volunteers who contribute to or act on behalf of the University
• individuals who have been granted access to QUT property, services or infrastructure
• consultants and independent contractors undertaking services for QUT.

For the purposes of this Code, and except where specified in section B/8.1.7, the term “staff member” has been used to include all QUT staff members as well as the members of the University community to whom this policy applies as defined in this section.

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8.1.3 Integrity and impartiality

QUT staff members are placed in a position of trust and should act in ways which maintain public confidence in the University and which advance the good of the University community. Staff members, regardless of their position or duties, must act with honesty, impartiality and propriety.

QUT values social justice, equal opportunity and a safe and supportive working environment. In their dealings with others, including students, staff and external organisations, staff members are expected to treat others fairly, honestly and respectfully, and with proper regard for their rights and obligations.

a) Identifying and managing conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest are not unusual in the exercise of public responsibility. Where conflicts of interest arise, staff members have a duty not only to identify and declare a conflict but to take positive steps to manage the situation in a manner which is clearly consistent with the University’s conflict of interest policy (B/8.7). Conflicts of interest may include, situations involving financial interests, personal relationships, personal benefits or conflicts between duties to QUT and other organisations. Conflicts of interest may be actual, perceived or potential in nature.

QUT’s Conflict of interest policy and Procedures for disclosure of interests provide further information on identifying, declaring and managing conflicts of interest.

b) Avoiding improper use of position

Staff members must use their official position properly and honestly. Improper use of a staff member’s position includes actions which may result in detriment to QUT or which result in real, potential or apparent advantage to a staff member, or any other person or organisation.

The nature of student/staff interactions and the role of supervisors and managers may place a staff member in a position of power over other staff and students. This imbalance of power creates the potential for undue influence of a student or more junior staff member, due to age or other factors such as the capacity to influence outcomes. In particular, the development of a sexual relationship where a power imbalance exists creates the potential for abuse of position, for damage to the less empowered and potentially vulnerable individual, and for conflicts of interests. A staff member must not abuse a position of power.

Consistent with 8.1.3(a) of this Code, where a relationship develops with a student which may lead to an actual or perceived conflict of interest, the staff member must notify their supervisor and cease any decision-making role in respect of the student.

Staff members must not use their position to offer a benefit as a result of any relationship.

c) Conducting research responsibly

Research is a core function of the University and research integrity ensures that QUT's research output contributes to knowledge, scholarship and community needs.

Staff members must adhere to the principles outlined in the QUT Code of Conduct for Research (D/2.6). These principles relate to responsible and accepted research methodology and practice, research collaboration and authorship, and describe the role of staff or others who provide research training as supervisors of research students or trainees.

d) Integrity in research commercialisation

Staff members may develop intellectual property during their research at QUT which is suitable for commercialisation. Commercialisation of research must be undertaken within the framework of QUT's Intellectual property policy (D/3.1) and related protocols, and will occur via structured arrangements for the creation of spin-off companies or other suitable vehicles for commercialisation. The individual creator may have a financial interest in a spin-off company if created, as part of QUT’s policy for distribution of commercialisation returns, however, share acquisition by supervisors or by other staff of the University must not occur until the spin-off company is publicly listed. For all types of commercial transactions, staff members must ensure that they do not use information about the transaction which is not generally available and which has been acquired from their QUT position for their personal gain or those of friends, family members or associates.

e) Being responsive and courteous

Staff members are expected to act in a respectful manner and to be responsive, courteous and prompt in dealing with requests or enquiries from students, staff or others.

f) Avoiding discriminatory, harassing or bullying treatment of others

Staff members must treat all people equitably and fairly. Staff members must not unlawfully make distinctions, or apply exclusions or restrictions based on sex, gender, sexuality, race, disability, religion, marital or parental status, age, political or religious conviction or any other factor that is irrelevant to a person's ability to work, study or access QUT services.

Staff members must not engage in behaviours which may be unwelcome or which may be distressing, offensive or humiliating to others regardless of whether this occurs face-to-face, in writing, via email or via social networking sites. Such behaviour may amount to harassment and/or bullying and may be unlawful under antidiscrimination or other legislation.

The University's social justice policies (A/8) provide a framework of expectations for equitable treatment of others. Discrimination related grievance procedures explain in further detail the behaviours or actions which must be avoided (A/8.5).

g) Respecting the privacy of others

Staff members must respect the privacy of others when they collect, access, manage or use personal information in the course of their University duties or activities, and must not disclose personal information except as permitted by QUT's privacy policy (F/6.2).

h) Making fair decisions

Staff members should observe procedural fairness ("natural justice") in their decision-making by

• giving an affected individual (whether a staff member or a student) the opportunity to understand the “case to be met” if a decision may be made which will adversely affect their interests, and to respond to it before a decision is made
• making decisions which are unbiased or uninfluenced by patronage, favouritism or conflicts of interest
• making decisions reasonably based on logical and relevant evidence.

i) Respecting the opinions of others

Staff members should respect the opinions of others by

• dealing with differing opinion by rational debate, rather than by vilification, coercion, bullying or any form of intimidatory, offensive or humiliating behaviour
• giving fair consideration to the views and contributions of others irrespective of their status or position within the University.
Grievances or disputes should be managed by following appropriate University channels in accordance with the University’s resolution framework, Staff complaints policy (B/10.1) and related procedures. Invoking grievance resolution or other appropriate procedures must not result in victimisation or intimidation.

j) Supervisory behaviour

A staff member with supervisory responsibilities has an important role in creating a fair and just working environment, and supervisors have a particular onus to maintain the standards of respect for others. Supervisors need to

• act equitably and consistently in their dealings with all of their staff
• ensure their staff understand the performance standards expected of them
• maintain open, honest and courteous communication with all staff
• avoid interactions which may reasonably be perceived as bullying of staff
• provide a safe working environment that complies with workplace health and safety obligations, and which extends to cultural workplace safety
• provide equitable access to appropriate development and promotional opportunities
• provide reasonable adjustments for staff with a disability, illness, family responsibilities or to allow religious or cultural observance.

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8.1.4 Promoting the public good

In line with QUT's values which promote an efficiently managed and sustainable environment, staff members must ensure that University resources are used economically and efficiently and in a manner and for purposes consistent with the University's goals and priorities.

a) Using resources for University purposes

All staff members have a responsibility to ensure that University resources are used only for legitimate purposes and are not wasted or abused, and that expenditure is consistent with University policy and appropriately authorised. Guidance on appropriate financial and asset management is provided in QUT’s financial management policies (Chapter G) and in the Finance Manual (QUT staff access only). Staff members who identify areas of duplication, potential abuse or other obviously inefficient practices or procedures are to report these matters to their supervisor.

Staff members must comply with QUT's policy on use of University resources and intellectual property when undertaking private outside work (D/7.1 and B/7.9).

b) Safeguarding University property

All staff members are expected to treat University property with due care and to ensure that it is secured against theft and misuse.

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8.1.5 Commitment to the system of government

This ethics value assumes a system of government based on the rule of law and the accountability of individuals.

In common with all citizens, staff members are required to observe the law. However, this obligation does not detract from the traditional right of academics to engage in free enquiry and active criticism on matters of public concern, or to pursue research within their field of expertise on matters which may be controversial or unpopular, even where this involves challenge or criticism to ideas, methods or practices of government or governmental agencies.

a) Complying with the law

While undertaking QUT responsibilities or activities, staff members must comply with the letter and the spirit of the laws of the State and the Commonwealth, and fulfil obligations required by law such as relevant registrations or certifications. Further information about the University's compliance obligations is detailed in the Compliance policy (A/1.3) and in the Register of Compliance Obligations.

b) Complying with QUT statutes, rules, policies and decisions

The authority of QUT statutes and rules (Appendix 1(b) and Appendix 1(c)) is derived from the QUT Act, and staff members are expected to comply with any applicable requirements.

Staff members must also comply with the institutional policies published in the Manual of Policies and Procedures which derive their authority from decisions or delegations of QUT Council.

c) Preventing fraud, corruption or maladministration

QUT does not tolerate corrupt or fraudulent conduct or maladministration (administrative conduct which is unlawful, arbitrary, improper, discriminatory or oppressive).

Staff members have a responsibility to report suspected fraud, corrupt conduct or maladministration of which they become aware to their supervisor, the Registrar and/or external authorities. The University has an obligation to refer complaints or information that it reasonably suspects may involve corrupt conduct by staff members to the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission. Further information about corruption and fraud is detailed in QUT’s Corruption and fraud control policy (B/8.6).

Where a person discloses impropriety or corrupt conduct to appropriate authorities, this must not result in harrassment or other reprisal action by University staff members (B/8.3 Public interest disclosure management).

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8.1.6 Accountability and transparency

Staff members must exercise proper care and attention in performing their University activities and conduct their duties to the best of their ability. Staff members are expected strive for and maintain high standards in the performance of their duties. QUT's organisational values promoting responsiveness, informed decision-making and health and safety in the conduct of work and study are consistent with this ethics value.

a) Acting professionally

Staff members are expected to conduct their duties in a professional, responsible and conscientious manner, and to be accountable for their actions and decisions.

Staff members should maintain their professional skills and keep up-to-date the knowledge associated with their area of work or scholarship. Staff members should be aware of the performance standards expected of them for their duties.

Staff members who work in a profession (for example, health care practitioner, counsellor, lawyer, accountant, engineer) or teach or undertake research related to professional activities should be aware of any applicable codes of conduct or ethical standards for their profession and aim to act in a way which satisfies both the ethical standards of QUT and of their profession.

b) Exercising proper care and attention

Staff members have a responsibility to exercise due care in undertaking their activities, especially where information or advice will be relied upon by others. Staff members must ensure that their actions are transparent, and that decisions made are supported by adequate documentation or evidence.

Staff members must not allow outside work or activities to interfere with the performance of their University duties. Further information about a staff member's obligations in relation to private outside work and/or consultancy work is detailed in relevant University policy (B/7.9 Outside employment - professional staff and D/7.1 Outside work - academic and senior staff).

c) Creating a safe working environment

All staff members have an obligation to follow safe work practices, to avoid actions which may harm themselves or others and to report hazards in the work environment (the University's health and safety policies at A/9). In addition, supervisors are responsible, within the limits of their authority, for ensuring that activities within their area are undertaken with the proper diligence for the health and safety of staff, students and others.

Staff members have a general duty to apply the principles of cultural safety through actions that recognise and respect the cultural identities of others, and safely meet their needs, expectations and rights.

Staff members must ensure that personal use of alcohol or other drugs does not affect their performance or the safety or well-being of others. Staff members should not carry out their duties whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs which will affect performance (the University's policy on the use of alcohol at H/3.6.7)

d) Maintaining the confidentiality of QUT business information

Staff members must ensure that confidential business information of QUT is accessed and used only for University purposes and is not disclosed except where appropriately authorised in accordance with QUT’s policies or appropriate legal frameworks.

Staff members have a general duty to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and security of QUT business information. Where particular confidentiality obligations exist due to the nature of the information, or contractual or legal obligations, staff members are expected to exercise proper care in understanding their obligations and complying with specific requirements.

All staff members have an obligation to utilise appropriate security measures to protect confidential or other business information, regardless of the format or storage medium for the information (QUT’s Information security policy F/1.2 and QUT’s Information privacy policy F/6.2).

e) Appropriately using information technology resources

QUT provides information technology (IT) resources to support its teaching and learning, research, administrative and business activities and these resources must be used with transparency and accountability. QUT's staff members have a responsibility to use IT resources consistent with this commitment.

The University’s Acceptable use of IT resources policy (F/1.11) provides a framework for the use of IT resources at QUT, including details on what constitutes acceptable use and unacceptable use of IT resources.

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8.1.7 Consequences of non-compliance with this Code

The obligations contained in this Code define and regulate the standards of conduct required of all staff members and other members of the University community as defined in section 8.1.2.

Staff members should treat the requirements of this Code as directions from QUT as their employer. A staff member whose conduct falls below the standards outlined in the Code will be dealt with in accordance with relevant University procedures.

An alleged breach of this Code by a staff member may be dealt with under the processes outlined for

• managing misconduct or serious misconduct (B/8.5 Disciplinary Action for Misconduct and Serious Misconduct - Senior Staff; clause 45 of the QUT Enterprise Agreement (Academic Staff) and clause 54 of the Enterprise Agreement (Professional staff)); or
• management of unsatisfactory performance (B/9.5 Managing Unsatisfactory Performance - Senior Staff; Clause 44 of the QUT Enterprise Agreement (Academic Staff) and clause 53 of the QUT Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff)).

A grievance or dispute relating to the code will be handled in accordance with the University’s resolution framework, Staff complaints policy (B/10.1) and related procedures.

Other members of the University community who do not comply with this Code may have their association with QUT terminated, or rights of access to QUT services, facilities or infrastructure revoked.

Serious breaches of this Code may also have consequences for staff members and other members of the University community under criminal or civil provisions of the general law. Where the matter involves a reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct as defined in the Crime and Corruptions Act (2001) (Qld) the University must refer the matter to the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission.

Where a possible breach of this Code is suspected, the individual should discuss their concerns with their supervisor, staff of the Human Resources Department, or in the case of suspected corrupt conduct, the Registrar.

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Related Documents

MOPP A/1.3 Compliance

MOPP A/8.3 QUT Reconciliation Statement

MOPP A/8.4 Equal opportunity and diversity

MOPP A/8.7 Cultural diversity and anti-racism policy

MOPP A/8.5 Grievance resolution procedures for discrimination related grievances

MOPP A/8.8 Gender equity

MOPP A/9 Health, safety and environment policies

MOPP B/7.9 Outside employment – professional staff

MOPP B/8.3 Public interest disclosure management

MOPP B/8.5 Disciplinary action for misconduct and serious misconduct - senior staff

MOPP B/8.6 Corruption and fraud control

MOPP B/8.7 Conflict of interest

MOPP B/9.5 Managing unsatisfactory performance - senior staff

MOPP B/10.1 Staff complaints

MOPP D/2.6 QUT Code of Conduct for Research

MOPP D/2.7 Procedures for dealing with allegations of research misconduct

MOPP D/3.1 Intellectual property

MOPP D/7.1 Outside work – academic and senior staff

MOPP E/2.1 QUT Student Code of Conduct

MOPP F/1.2 Information security

MOPP F/6.2 Information privacy

MOPP F/1.11 Acceptable use of information technology resources

MOPP H/3.6 Campus services, events and alcohol

Enterprise Agreement (Academic Staff)

Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff)

QUT Register of Disclosed Interests

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Modification History

Date Sections Source Details
03.12.14 All Council Periodic review - policy revised to incorporate corrupt conduct (B/8.2 Official misconduct)

18.01.12

B/8.1.5

Governance Services

Editorial change - referral to Whistleblower's Protection management policy changed to Public Interest Disclosure management policy

22.06.11

All

Council

Periodic review - policy revised

15.09.10

All

Governance Services

Policy revised to reflect repeal of Information Facilities Rules

23.02.05 All Council Revised Code of Conduct (endorsed by Planning and Resources Committee 09.02.05)
03.09.03 B/8.1.6 Council Added new moral rights clause

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