How to run a code of conduct investigation

Who should attend

This course is for APS employees who have, or may have, a role in determining:

  • whether a breach of the code of conduct has occurred
  • if an employee should be suspended from duty while the question of breach is determined
  • when a breach is proven, imposing a sanction.

The course may also be beneficial for people performing roles in disciplinary regimes other than that established under the Public Service Act 1999.


The Australian Public Service Commission, which is committed to supporting agencies to raise the quality of code of conduct investigations across the APS, has endorsed the aims and content of this course.

Course outline

The code of conduct sets out the minimum standards of behaviour required of APS employees. When an employee is suspected of breaching the code of conduct, procedures established by the agency head are used to determine whether a breach has occurred. If a breach is found proven, a sanction may be imposed. This course will outline the legislative framework which underpins the disciplinary process and introduce the 3 key roles and their areas of responsibility. Against this backdrop, the course will then focus upon the practical aspects of running a code of conduct investigation. The course will take participants through the investigation phase, the decision-making process, the preparation of a report and the imposition of a sanction. The course will also address the use and retention of records related to the code of conduct process, and the often critical question 'what happens next?'.


Participants will gain an understanding of the legislative framework underpinning the disciplinary process, practical skills necessary to run an investigation and knowledge and confidence to make sound and defensible decisions.


Catherine Mann is a Senior Executive Lawyer specialising in public sector employment and workplace relations law. She represents and advises Commonwealth agencies on the full range of employment and workplace relations issues, including complex and contentious matters relating to discrimination, dismissals, SES employment issues, public interest disclosures and enterprise agreements. Her experience also includes administrative law litigation in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Federal Court, Federal Circuit Court and workers’ compensation. She was solicitor on the record for the Minister for Workplace Relations in the Board of Bendigo TAFE v Barclay High Court appeal, and for the Commonwealth in the Ashby v Slipper litigation. She also worked on the fleet-grounding Qantas dispute.


The course runs for 2 consecutive full days – 9 am – 4.30 pm each day. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will be provided on both days.


Standard fee – $1,950 (inclusive of GST) per person. No more than 20 people will be accepted on each course and courses will only be conducted if we receive sufficient nominations.