Unit of competency details

PSPETHC301B - Uphold the values and principles of public service (Release 3)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to PSPETH001 - Uphold the values and principles of public serviceUnit code updated. Content and formatting updated to comply with the new standards. All PC transitioned from passive to active voice. Assessment Requirements created drawing upon specified assessment information from superseded unit. 06/Mar/2016
Supersedes and is equivalent to PSPETHC301A - Uphold the values and principles of public service 09/Mar/2009

ReleaseRelease date
3 (this release) 01/Nov/2012
(View details for release 2) 07/Mar/2012
(View details for release 1) 10/Mar/2009

Training packages that include this unit

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnUsage RecommendationRelease
SFI30411 - Certificate III in Fisheries ComplianceCertificate III in Fisheries ComplianceSuperseded1-3 
CHC42215 - Certificate IV in Social HousingCertificate IV in Social HousingSuperseded1-2 
PSP30512 - Certificate III in Government (Security)Certificate III in Government (Security)Deleted
PSP30504 - Certificate III in Government (Security)Certificate III in Government (Security)Superseded1-2 
PSP30304 - Certificate III in Government (Court Compliance)Certificate III in Government (Court Compliance)Superseded1-2 
BSB30915 - Certificate III in Business Administration (Education)Certificate III in Business Administration (Education)Superseded1-2 
CHC40908 - Certificate IV in Social HousingCertificate IV in Social HousingSuperseded
BSB30907 - Certificate III in Business Administration (Education)Certificate III in Business Administration (Education)Superseded1-2 
PSP30404 - Certificate III in Government (Land Administration)Certificate III in Government (Land Administration)Superseded1-2 
PSP30604 - Certificate III in Government (School Support Services)Certificate III in Government (School Support Services)Superseded1-2 
Items per page 10 | 20 | 50 | 100
Displaying items 1 - 10 of 22


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 080313 Public And Health Care Administration  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 080313 Public And Health Care Administration  11/Oct/2004 
The content being displayed has been produced by a third party, while all attempts have been made to make this content as accessible as possible it cannot be guaranteed. If you are encountering issues following the content on this page please consider downloading the content in its original form

Modification History


TP Version




Unit descriptor edited.



Layout adjusted. No changes to content.



Primary release.

Unit Descriptor

This unit of competency describes the outcomes required to demonstrate ethical conduct required of those in public service. It includes applying ethical standards and dealing with ethical problems.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Application of the Unit

This unit supports the attainment of skills and knowledge required for applying ethical conduct and accountability required in those working in government employment.

In practice, ethical conduct is demonstrated in the context of other generalist or specialist work activities such as building and maintaining networks, delivering client services, using financial resources, procuring goods or services, etc.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the required performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised  text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge and/or the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1 . Apply ethical standards 

1.1 Interpretation of ethical values and principles  is reviewed with senior staff to ensure accuracy.

1.2 Personal work practices  are undertaken in compliance with public sector ethics standards, organisational policy and guidelines. 

1.3 Verbal and written advice and reports are prepared containing information which is impartial, substantiated, accurate and complete.

1.4 Public resources  are used  in accordance with public sector ethics standards, organisational policy and guidelines.

1.5 Conflicts of interest  are identified, declared, addressed and documented in accordance with policy and procedures.

1.6 Personal behaviour and relationships with the public, suppliers and business contacts are conducted in accordance with ethics standards, policy and guidelines.

2 . Deal with ethical problems 

2.1 Situations which pose ethical problems are resolved or referred  in accordance with organisational guidelines.

2.2 Decision-making processes  used to resolve ethical problems are recorded in accordance with organisational policy and procedures.

2.3 Organisational policies/codes on the prevention and reporting of unethical conduct  are accessed and applied.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Required skills :

Look for evidence that confirms skills in:

  • applying objective and impartial evaluation of conflicting requirements
  • using ethical decision making
  • preparing written advice and reports requiring accuracy of expression
  • accessing legislation and codes of ethics electronically or in hard copy
  • tailoring communication to suit different audiences
  • responding to diversity, including gender and disability
  • applying occupational health and safety procedures relating to ethical work practices

Required knowledge :

Look for evidence that confirms knowledge and understanding of:

  • the nature of ethics and ethical values
  • fundamental ethical principles such as justice, respect for persons, procedural fairness, confidentiality, responsible care
  • values of public sector office
  • natural justice/procedural fairness
  • equal employment opportunity, equity and diversity principles
  • where to access ethical decision making/problem solving models, organisational codes and procedures
  • procedures for declaring conflicts of interest
  • protocols for reporting fraud, corruption and maladministration
  • occupational health and safety procedures relating to ethical work practices

Evidence Guide

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Units to be assessed together 

  • Pre-requisite units that must  be achieved prior  to this unit:Nil
  • Co-requisite units that must  be assessed with  this unit:Nil
  • Co-assessed units that may  be assessed with this unit to increase the efficiency and realism of the assessment process include, but are not limited to:
  • PSPGOV303B Build and maintain internal networks
  • PSPGOV305B Access and use resources and financial systems
  • PSPGOV307B Organise workplace information
  • PSPGOV308B Work effectively with diversity
  • PSPGOV309A Address client needs
  • PSPGOV312A Use workplace communication strategies
  • PSPGOV314A Contribute to conflict management
  • PSPIM301A Process claims
  • PSPLAND302A Investigate tenure and land use history
  • PSPLEGN301B Comply with legislation in the public sector
  • PSPOHS301A Contribute to workplace safety
  • PSPPROC302A Undertake basic procurement
  • This unit should be co-assessed with other units to supply the context for ethical behaviour

Overview of evidence requirements 

In addition to integrated demonstration of the elements and their related performance criteria, look for evidence that confirms:

  • the knowledge requirements of this unit
  • the skill requirements of this unit
  • application of Employability Skills as they relate to this unit
  • ethical conduct in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time) where contexts may be generalist or specialist work activities such as building and maintaining networks, delivering client services, using financial resources, procuring goods or services etc

Resources required to carry out assessment 

These resources include:

  • ethics-related legislation and guidelines
  • codes of conduct and codes of ethics
  • public sector standards, procedures and protocols
  • ethical decision making/problem solving models
  • manager/mentor/network who role models ethical conduct

Where and how to assess evidence 

Valid assessment of this unit requires:

  • a workplace environment or one that closely resembles normal work practice and replicates the range of conditions likely to be encountered when working ethically in a public sector environment, including coping with ambiguity, difficulties, irregularities and breakdowns in routine
  • ethical conduct in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time) where contexts may be generalist or specialist work activities such as building and maintaining networks, delivering client services, using financial resources, procuring goods or services etc.

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands, such as literacy, and the needs of particular groups, such as:

  • people with disabilities
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • women
  • young people
  • older people
  • people in rural and remote locations

Assessment methods suitable for valid and reliable assessment of this competency may include, but are not limited to, a combination of 2 or more of:

  • case studies
  • portfolios
  • questioning
  • scenarios
  • simulation or role plays
  • authenticated evidence from the workplace and/or training courses

For consistency of assessment 

Evidence must be gathered over time in a range of contexts to ensure the person can achieve the unit outcome and apply the competency in different situations or environments

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised  wording, if used in the Performance Criteria, is detailed below. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs if the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Ethical values and principles  may include:

  • respect for the law
  • integrity
  • objectivity
  • accountability
  • honesty
  • openness
  • responsibility
  • impartiality
  • diligence
  • trustworthiness
  • confidentiality
  • respect for persons
  • responsible care
  • probity
  • economy and efficiency
  • natural justice/procedural fairness, that is:
  • the right to be heard/put your case
  • the right to be informed of a complaint or case against you
  • the right to know the outcomes/recommendations of an investigation involving you
  • the right to know reasons for decisions affecting you
  • the right to privacy
  • the right to representation
  • the right to silence
  • the decision maker should not be a judge in his/her own cause

Work practices  may include:

  • behaviours
  • conduct
  • relationships with work colleagues, external individuals and organisations
  • the manner in which work activities are carried out

Legislation and guidelines  may include:

  • legislation for public sector management
  • freedom of information
  • privacy legislation
  • equal employment opportunity and anti-discrimination law
  • public sector standards
  • Ministerial directions
  • State/Territory or Commonwealth codes of ethics
  • organisational codes of conduct
  • sets of values
  • organisational mission and values statements
  • organisational policy, procedures/guidelines
  • government policy
  • professional codes of ethics and conduct
  • equity guidelines, workplace diversity guidelines

Public resources  may include:

  • time
  • stationery
  • equipment
  • telephones
  • Internet
  • Email

Use  of public resources includes:

  • effective use
  • efficient use - avoiding/minimising waste
  • not for private use

Conflicts of interest  may include:

  • potential, perceived and actual conflicts
  • bribery
  • improper use of official information
  • improper use of resources, including plant and equipment
  • acceptance of gifts
  • entertainment
  • previous and outside employment, including voluntary work
  • favours for friends and/or relatives
  • memberships of organisations
  • political activity
  • pecuniary and non-pecuniary conflicts

Ethical problems which may need to be referred  rather than resolved at this level may include:

  • conflict between public sector standards and personal values
  • conflict between public sector standards and other standards such as professional standards
  • conflict between public sector standards and directions of a senior officer or Minister
  • tension between two 'rights', for example, the right to privacy versus the right to freedom of information
  • conflict regarding issues of personal and organisational intellectual property

Referrals  of ethical problems may be made to:

  • line management
  • chief executive officer
  • public service commissioner
  • public sector standards body
  • organisational ethics committee
  • internal grievance mechanisms, including identified officers
  • confidant programs (whistleblower protection programs)
  • organisational professional reporting procedures
  • unions and professional bodies
  • ombudsman
  • police

Processes  for resolving ethical problems may include:

  • accessing relevant standards and other information
  • withdrawing from a situation
  • using models of ethical decision making/problem solving
  • reflection, discussion, seeking clarification from others.

Unethical conduct  may include:

  • fraud, corruption, maladministration and waste
  • unauthorised access to and/or use of information, money/finances, vehicles, equipment, resources, time
  • improper actions during contractual processes, such as release of intellectual property, infringing copyright, release of tender information, inappropriate disclosure during tender process
  • improper public comment on matters relating to the government and/or the organisation
  • falsifying records
  • giving false testimonials
  • dishonesty
  • improper use of plant and equipment, credit cards, frequent flyer points, telephones, email and Internet
  • extravagant or wasteful practices
  • personal favours
  • preferential treatment
  • putting barriers in place, hindering, blocking action
  • compromising behaviour including sexual harassment
  • lack of confidentiality
  • directing others to act unethically
  • oppressive/coercive management decisions
  • resorting to illegality to obtain evidence

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.

Competency field

Ethics and Accountability.