General duties of officials-RMG 203


This guide is relevant to officials of non-corporate Commonwealth entities and corporate Commonwealth entities (collectively, Commonwealth entities), including their accountable authorities.

Generally, officials are people who are employees of, or are otherwise in, or form part of, a Commonwealth entity. Part 1 of this guide has more detail on who is an official.

Employees and members of the governing boards of Commonwealth companies are not officials for the purpose of the PGPA Act.

Key points

  • Officials are required to exercise their powers and perform their functions under the PGPA Act and rules in accordance with certain standards of behaviour. The PGPA Act does this through imposing a set of general duties on officials:
    • duty of care and diligence (section 25)
    • duty to act honestly, in good faith and for a proper purpose (section 26)
    • duty in relation to use of position (section 27)
    • duty in relation to use of information (section 28)
    • duty to disclose material personal interests (section 29).
  • To meet these duties, officials need to consider and, where relevant, comply with:
    • finance law, which includes the PGPA Act and rules and instruments made under the PGPA Act, as well as Appropriation Acts, and
    • the systems of risk management and internal control in their entity established by their accountable authority (including any delegations or authorisations).
  • These general duties in the PGPA Act do not limit duties contained in other Commonwealth laws or any principles or rules of common law or equity (section 31 of the PGPA Act). The duties in the PGPA Act are in addition to any other legal duties that an official may have under their employment framework or through an employment contract, e.g.:
  • The duties in the PGPA Act are consistent with duties in APS Code of Conduct. For APS employees, adherence with the APS Code of Conduct will ordinarily meet the requirements of the duties under the PGPA Act (for a comparison of duties under the PGPA Act and PS Act, see the Appendix).
  • Officials who do not discharge their general duties can be subject to employment sanctions, including termination of employment (for staff) or termination of appointment (for board members or office holders).

1 – Who is an official?

2 – Duty of care and diligence

3 – Duty to act honestly, in good faith and for a proper purpose

4 – Duty in relation to position

5 – Duty in relation to information

6 – Duty to disclose interests

7 – Sanctions for breaching the general duties



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Last updated: 15 June 2017