Public distrust having an effect on NSW prosperity

In the NSW Ombudsman’s Annual Report, tabled in Parliament in early October, the Ombudsman highlighted the need to raise standards of ethics and integrity right across the government and non-government sector in NSW.
‘The distrust and inefficiencies that arise from people not doing the right thing are costing our community too much,” Ombudsman Bruce Barbour said.
‘NSW will only prosper when public servants and others can be relied upon to follow the rules and deliver the services the public expect.’
The Ombudsman said the standards of integrity and ethical conduct were critical to ensuring NSW continues to have a strong public service that brings
about improvements and follows best practice in service delivery.
“Sadly, it is always the actions of the few who do the wrong thing that bring the whole system into disrepute,” he said.
Ombudsman Barbour said this was especially important in the current climate when many Government agencies are being asked to do more with less.
He believed this climate presented a real risk as it forced people to focus solely on outcomes and make short cuts that undermined systems and often involved ethical lapses.
“NSW continues to be the only State that doesn’t have legislation setting out basic standards and a public sector wide code of conduct,” the Ombudsman said.
“Just as in all other States in Australia, we need to spell out clearly the expectations and obligations to which public sector employees will be held to account.
“NSW has been dragging its feet in this area and is being left behind by the other States and the Commonwealth.”

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