IPART is the independent pricing regulator for water, public transport, local government, as well as the licence administrator of water, electricity and gas and the scheme administrator and regulator for the Energy Savings Scheme. We also undertake reviews and investigations into a wide range of economic and policy issues and perform a number of other roles at the NSW Government’s request. We act with integrity, earn trust and deliver excellence.
IPART employees are expected to behave ethically and comply with IPARTs Code of Ethics and Conduct. IPART also expects high standards of behaviour from organisations and individuals that do business with us.
This Business Ethics Statement gives guidance on expected behaviours – of consultants and suppliers, and of IPART. IPART expects all individuals and organisations that deal with it to adopt these standards of ethical behaviour. IPART is committed to promoting integrity, ethical conduct and accountability in all areas of public administration.
All consultants and suppliers are required to observe the following principles when doing business with IPART:
- Comply with applicable NSW Government procurement frameworks, policies, and codes of practice
- Comply with IPART's procurement policies and procedures, and act ethically, fairly and honestly in all dealings.
- Not offer IPART employees, contractors and consultants any inducements to act in a partial manner.
- Declare actual, perceived or potential conflicts of interest as soon as such matters arise and work with IPART to manage perceived or potential conflicts.
- Prevent the disclosure of confidential IPART information and protect IPART intellectual property.
- Assist IPART to prevent fraud, corruption and unethical practices in business relationships by reporting wrongdoing.
IPART values and principles
IPART has three key values:
- We act with integrity
- We earn trust
- We deliver excellence.
We have eight guiding principles:
- Independence – we are independent and impartial in our advice and decision making
- Transparency – we make our processes visible and explain our decisions clearly and simply
- Professionalism – we conduct ourselves with discipline according to high professional standards, and use resources effectively and efficiently
- Consistency–we strive to provide a consistent regulatory environment
- Consultation – we consult extensively and effectively with all stakeholders and consider their concerns and comments.
- Balance – we aim to deliver equitable outcomes by balancing the ongoing interests of the regulated entities, their customers and other stakeholders
- Innovation – we explore new and better approaches and demonstrate intellectual leadership and innovation
- Practicality – we aim to deliver pragmatic outcomes that can be achieved efficiently within the statutory framework.
NSW Government values:
NSW Government has four core values:
- Consider people equally without prejudice or favour.
- Act professionally with honesty, consistency and impartiality.
- Take responsibility for situations, showing leadership and courage.
- Place the public interest over personal interest.
- Appreciate difference and welcome learning from others.
- Build relationships based on mutual respect.
- Uphold the law, institutions of government and democratic principles.
- Communicate intentions clearly and invite teamwork and collaboration.
- Provide apolitical and non-partisan advice.
- Provide services fairly with a focus on customer needs.
- Be flexible, innovative and reliable in service delivery.
- Engage with the not-for-profit and business sectors to develop and implement service solutions.
- Focus on quality while maximising service delivery.
- Recruit and promote employees on merit.
- Take responsibility for decisions and actions.
- Provide transparency to enable public scrutiny.
- Observe standards for safety.
- Be fiscally responsible and focus on efficient, effective and prudent use of resources.
IPART’s key business principles include achieving value for money in the expenditure of public funds while being fair, ethical and transparent.
IPART is committed to the NSW Procurement Board’s NSW Procurement Policy Framework.
Why IPART’s consultants and suppliers should comply
Consultants and suppliers will be able to advance their business objectives and interests in a fair and ethical manner through complying with the basic principles of probity management as well as the NSW Procurement Board’s Procurement Policy Framework, and this Business Ethics Statement. All IPART consultants and suppliers are expected to comply with these requirements.
Non-compliance with IPART’s Business Ethics Statement when doing business with IPART, as well as corrupt or unethical conduct, could lead to:
- Termination of contracts;
- Loss of future work;
- Loss of reputation;
- Investigation for corruption; and / or
- Matters being referred for criminal investigation.
What consultants and suppliers can expect from IPART employees
IPART employees are bound by both IPART and NSW Public Sector values as well as the IPARTs Code of Ethics and Conduct and are expected to:
- Ensure that decisions and actions are reasonable, fair and appropriate to the circumstances, based on consideration of all the relevant facts, and be supported by relevant legislation, policies and procedures.
- Accept responsibility and be accountable for their actions in accordance with delegated functions, accountabilities, and the requirements of IPARTs Code of Ethics and Conduct.
- Actively promote the integrity and reputation of the public sector by always acting in the public interest and not engage in any activities that would bring the public sector into disrepute.
- Achieve the highest standards of ethics by treating Government, stakeholders, clients, suppliers and each other fairly and professionally.
- Provide relevant and responsive service to clients and customers, with all necessary and appropriate assistance in accordance with agreed service standards.
- Always act with care and diligence, utilising IPART’s resources in a proper manner.
Incentives, gifts, benefits and hospitality
Consultants and suppliers must not offer or give gifts to IPART employees intended as an inducement to act in a partial manner and there is no expectation from IPART employees that any gifts will be provided. IPART employees will decline gifts, benefits, or travel offered during the course of their work. Cash gifts (or equivalent, e.g. gift vouchers) are never acceptable.
IPART consultants and suppliers must not pay or offer to pay for any form of entertainment for IPART employees. This includes such things as tickets to sporting or social events, social meals at restaurants, travel expenses to attend either local or interstate meetings or conferences, or accommodation expenses. IPART meets all such business costs for employees.
IPART employee participation in some modest forms of hospitality is permitted where: a clear underlying business purpose exists; it is in the normal course of business; relates to the work of the Tribunal; has a public benefit; and is disclosed by the employee.
Offers, acceptance, and non-acceptance, of gifts, benefits and hospitality are required to be disclosed by IPART employees in accordance with IPART’s Conflict of Interest and Gifts and Benefits Policy.
IPART acknowledges that judgement by both consultants, suppliers and employees needs to be exercised regarding the offer and acceptance of such hospitality – the essence is that it must be modest (both actual and in perception) and not be encumbered by obligation. It must also not be offered at a time that could raise general concerns about conflicts of interest, for example during a tender or contract negotiation period. Modest hospitality could include basic refreshments at meetings, and simple light working luncheons.
In the course of some reviews and projects IPART employees may travel to visit sites. Sometimes, stakeholders may offer to organise transport for employees visiting their site. Decisions on whether to accept any offer must comply with IPART’s Conflict of Interest and Gifts and Benefits Policy.
IPART does not accept employee secondments or transfer to or from regulated entities.
Conflicts of interest
All IPART employees are required to disclose any actual, perceived, or potential conflicts of interest. This includes those that can, or could, arise from personal relationships between IPART employees and staff of consultants and suppliers. This requirement is extended to all IPART consultants and suppliers.
IPART will not ask for, entertain, or enter into any sponsorship or similar arrangement that is not open and transparent or where such activity creates a perception that it could be part of an attempt to improperly influence decision-making processes. Where applicable, specific policies and processes developed within IPART for sponsorship arrangements are to be adhered to.
Confidentiality and intellectual property
Confidential information (in whatever form – hard copy, electronic, etc.) must be treated as such and protected as appropriate. The specific requirements of copyright laws and individual contracts must be adhered to in relation to confidentiality and intellectual property.
Communication and cooperation
In line with applicable NSW Government procurement frameworks, policies, and codes of practice, IPART and consultants, contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers will maintain business relationships based on open and effective communication, respect and trust, and adopt a non-adversarial approach to dispute resolution.
Private employment and post-separation employment
IPART requires employees to obtain the approval of the Chief Executive Officer prior to entering into any other paid employment arrangement. This will not be approved if it has the potential to create an actual or perceived conflict of interest between the employee’s public official role and their private interests. IPART employees are not to use either their position, government information, or intellectual property developed while serving Government to secure private employment.
Consultants and suppliers must not offer IPART employees other paid employment which conflicts with their public duties. Former employees who have dealings with IPART need to ensure that they do not seek, or appear to seek, favourable treatment or access to confidential information.
Expectations regarding contractors
All contractors and sub-contractors are expected to comply with the IPART Business Ethics Statement. Consultants and suppliers are responsible for making any of their sub-contractors aware of this statement.
Non-IPART employees must not make any public comment or statement that would lead anyone to believe that they are representing IPART, or expressing its views or policies whether at public and community meetings, via the media, or when it is reasonable that comments or statements will become known to the public at large.
IPART employees are not permitted to provide public endorsement, on IPART behalf, of companies or their products.
Public Interest Disclosures
IPART does not tolerate corrupt conduct, maladministration, serious and substantial waste of public money, government information contravention, and other forms of serious wrongdoing. IPART consultants and suppliers are required to report all information that they become aware of that they honestly believe, on reasonable grounds, shows or tends to show, serious wrongdoing inside or outside the IPART and its related entities.
Individuals and corporations (and employees or officers of these corporations) engaged by IPART under a contract to provide services to, or on behalf of, IPART are classified as ‘public officials’ under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994. The Act protects public officials from reprisal or detrimental action when disclosing corrupt conduct or other specific wrongdoing in line with requirements of the Act. The Act also ensures that disclosures are appropriately investigated and dealt with.
Questions regarding the Statement of Business Ethics:
Chief Procurement Officer
Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal (IPART)
McKell Building, 2-24 Rawson Place
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9019 1924
Concerns about a possible breach or any conduct that could involve fraud, corrupt conduct, maladministration, or serious and substantial waste of public funds:
Chief Audit Executive
Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal (IPART)
McKell Building, 2-24 Rawson Place
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9113 7745