Public Sector Standards Bill 2015

On 23 December 2015, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform published the Public Sector Standards Bill 2015. This Bill consolidates the current legislative framework governing the ethical obligations of public officials and gives effect to the recommendations of the Tribunals.

The purpose of the Bill is to significantly enhance the existing framework for identifying, disclosing and managing conflicts of interest and minimising corruption risks, while also achieving a shift towards a more dynamic and risk-based system of compliance and ensuring that the institutional framework for oversight, investigation and enforcement is robust and effective.

Among the key reforms of the Public Sector Standards Bill 2015 are:-

  • the introduction of a Public Sector Standards Commissioner to replace the Standards in Public Office Commission and to oversee a reformed complaints and investigations process;
  • the establishment in legislation of a set of integrity principles for all public officials;
  • the strengthening of the legal obligation for public officials to disclose, as a matter of routine, actual and potential conflicts of interest, reinforced by a significant extension of the personal and material scope of disclosures for public officials and graduated disclosure requirements;
  • the establishment of a more effective (IT-based) process for the submission of periodic statements of interests;
  • the imposition of statutory prohibitions on the use of insider information, on the seeking by public officials of benefits to further their private interests, and on local elected representatives from dealing professionally with land in certain circumstances; and
  • the establishment of a new statutory board to address potential conflicts of interest as public officials take up roles in the private sector.

 

By providing a robust and effective framework for the management of conflicts of interest and standards of conduct of public officials, this legislation will be integral to the quality and efficacy of public governance and the addressing of corruption risks.

 

Relevant Documents: 

Bill

Public Sector Standards Bill 2015

Explanatory Memo

Policy Paper Documents

Policy Document

International Best Practice

Tribunal Recommendations

Obligations of Officials

General Scheme Documents

Summary of the draft General Scheme of a Public Sector Standards Bill 2015

Draft General Scheme

Submission Received

Standards in Public Office Commission

Regulatory Impact Assessment

Regulatory Impact Assessment