Code of Conduct

Reasons for the code

The Code of Conduct outlines the responsibilities and obligations of the Surveyors Board of Queensland.

Impact of the code

This code, its ethics, principles and values is binding on all Board Members.

Ethics, principles and values

The following principles provide the framework for the code and are declared by the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 to be the basis for good public administration:

  1. Integrity and impartiality
  2. Promoting the public good
  3. Commitment to the system of government
  4. Accountability and transparency.

1. Integrity and impartiality

Members recognise and promote public confidence in the integrity of the Board by:

  • commitment to the highest ethical standards;
  • showing respect for colleagues, persons registered in terms of Part 3 of the Surveyors Act 2003, surveyors in any jurisdiction and members of the public;
  • being objective, independent, and impartial when making decisions or engaging with the community or profession; and
  • declaring any potential conflict of interest at the earliest possible time.

1.1. Operation of the Board

Personal interests of members should not be brought to the Board.  Members should interpret matters before the Board, become involved in the discussion, and reach a decision on each matter.

Section 31 of the Act requires Board Members to declare any potential conflict of interest as soon as they become aware of it and to state its background.  The Board decides if a conflict of interest does exist.  Where a conflict of interest is identified, the Board member concerned should leave the meeting when that matter is discussed.

When discussing matters on the Board’s agendas, members should endeavour to reach a consensus.  If this is not possible, a vote should be taken.  Once a decision has been reached, Board Members should fully support the decision.

Board Members shall at all times:

  • fully examine all issues and options available and provide appropriate impartial advice which accurately reflects the Board’s policies and procedures;
  • maintain proper confidentiality of Board information;
  • respect intellectual property/copyright provisions;
  • disclose fraud corruption maladministration or misconduct to the Board; and
  • never seek or accept gifts/benefits for private gain in connection with Board duties.

1.2. Personal Conduct In and Outside the Workplace

You must ensure that your personal behaviour, standard of conduct and level of performance, both within the workplace and elsewhere, are of the highest order.

1.3. Respect for the Dignity, Rights and Views of Others

All persons must be treated in an appropriate manner in the work environment, ensuring that their rights are observed, their views are taken into account and they are treated fairly at all times.

Clients are made aware of their entitlements, particularly if they are uncertain of what to ask for, or are ignorant of the appropriate procedures to be followed.

Be professional in all dealings with clients and colleagues. Telephone calls or correspondence may be received from irate members of the public who believe the Board has not met their interests.  In such instances:

  • examine the issues raised by the client and ensure that the matter was originally dealt with using appropriate Board procedures or legislation;
  • assure the client that any remaining issues will be dealt with appropriately and that an appropriate staff member will address the concerns as soon as possible; and
  • direct the enquiry to an appropriate person knowledgeable in the area.

At all times foster a client focussed professional image of the Board.

2. Promoting the public good

Work to protect the interests of the public and the surveying profession both in Queensland and nationally.

Treat complaints from clients and the community seriously and respond to constructive feedback as an opportunity for improvement.

3. Commitment to the systems of government

You have a responsibility to:

  • exercise powers lawfully;
  • respect the spirit and letter of the law;
  • act in the public interest and in accordance with appropriate Board policies and statutory objectives; and
  • accept that the responsible Minister has the right to determine policy and priorities.

You are expected to comply with all reasonable lawful instructions related to your work.

You may question an instruction if you believe:

  • an instruction is unreasonable because it goes beyond what is appropriate in the circumstances (e.g. you do not have the skills or resources to meet the requirements); or
  • the instruction involves actions that can reasonably be considered unlawful or unethical.

3.1. Procedural Fairness (Natural Justice)

Natural justice is the observance of fair procedures.  The main requirements of natural justice are:

  • the decision maker does not have a direct or personal interest in the outcome of the decision;
  • the provision of an opportunity for the parties to put their case to the decision- maker, whether it is an oral hearing or otherwise;
  • all parties are heard and consideration given to all arguments and competing interests;
  • action is fair and without bias;
  • a statement of the reasons for the decision can be provided if requested; and
  • information regarding rights of appeal or action that can be taken as well as the limitations of that action when notifying of a decision.

When mediating or making decisions that will affect other people, the principles of procedural fairness and natural justice should be followed at all stages of the process.  Ultimately it must be ensured that where discretionary power is used, the decision can be justified to clients and anybody else affected by the decision.

3.2. Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

You have the right to work in an environment free from discrimination, intimidation, threat and humiliation. Sexual harassment or discrimination in any form will not be tolerated.

4. Accountability and transparency

Perform our duties to the best of our abilities and seek to achieve high standards of administration.

You should ensure that Board property resources and facilities are:

  • used economically for the purpose for which they are provided;
  • treated with care and properly maintained;
  • secured against theft or misuse; and
  • waste and extravagance is avoided.

Comply with privacy legislation and treat official information with care and not use this information for any personal interest.

4.1. Disclosure of Board Information

You have access to information that is not generally available to the public or the media. This information is often confidential especially where it concerns personal affairs of individuals, commercial sensitive business information or politically sensitive information.

You must not disclose Board or commercial information to any person, agency or media unless:

  • the information has already been released or approved for general circulation to members of the public
  • you have the authority to release information requested under the Right to Information Act 2009 and in accordance with the appropriate Board standard
  • the information was supplied to the Board for a purpose which permits its disclosure.

You are not to use official information or documents obtained through or in connection with Board duty for improper advantage. Examples of information that must have Board clearance before release to the public or media include:

  • information developed during the course of a consultancy undertaken on behalf of the Board or its clients where the early release of the information would provide a competitive advantage to the individual above other industry representatives;
  • confidential information of cultural significance which has been given by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders in good faith.

4.2. Managerial Behaviour

The following behaviour should be adopted:

  • ensure the Board’s clients receive responsive, effective and efficient services
  • maintain impartiality and integrity in informing and advising clients
  • manage resources efficiently, responsibly and in a fully accountable way
  • maintain proper standards in creating keeping and managing Board records
  • treat all staff fairly and reasonably
  • ensure safe and healthy working conditions for staff and clients
  • ensure staff are paid appropriately for the duties and responsibilities undertaken by them
  • ensure staff are consulted on issues, which impact on them in the workplace.

4.3. Public Information Service Networks

You increasingly have access to computerised public information service networks, and should not deliberately access, store, or forward information where the action might reasonably be anticipated to be contrary to or result in actions contrary to:

  • the provisions of Queensland or Commonwealth Government legislation; or
  • Codes of Conduct issued by this Board.

Examples of unacceptable use include:

  • the violation of copyright
  • use for personal, financial or commercial gain.

4.4. Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a breach of the code and can be defined as intentionally using another person’s ideas or compositions in whole or in part, and passing them off as your own work.

4.5. Provision of Advice Without Fear or Favour

You are required to provide to the Minister, clients, the general public and colleagues all information and experience at your disposal which may impact on decisions made on behalf of the Board.

When required, you must provide the Minister with honest, impartial, accurate and comprehensive advice, without favour, regardless of whether the advice accords with the views of the current Minister.

4.6. Use of Board Property Resources and Facilities

You should ensure that Board property resources and facilities are:

  • used economically for the purpose for which they are provided;
  • treated with care and properly maintained;
  • secured against theft or misuse; and
  • waste and extravagance is avoided.

Board resources include material and financial resources, human skills and knowledge, intellectual property and Board information.