Last post, Patrick Lambe commented if I could “work towards getting Australian public servants permission to talk about the work they do (so far as it does not affect national security)? We need to learn so fast as a profession, that this disabling of shared experience is crippling us.”
Now I am all for breaking rules – except on the occasions when they would cost me my job! In the Victorian Public Sector, we have an updated code of conduct that commenced in July this year. Within our code of conduct is the following section (section 3.5 pg 11):
“Public sector employees only make public comment when specifically authorised to do so in relation to their duties, a public sector body, or government policies and programs. Such comment is restricted to factual information and avoids the expression of personal opinion. Public comment includes providing information or comment to any media (electronic and print), the internet and speaking engagements.
When making a comment in a private capacity, public sector employees ensure their comments are not related to any government activity that they are involved in or connected with as a public sector employee and make it clear they are expressing their own view. They ensure personal comments do not compromise their capacity to perform their public sector role in an unbiased manner, and that their comments are not seen or perceived to be an official comment.”
Now that clearly limits my capacity to post on the work that I do. I could say that I am commenting in my personal capacity but even then, I am not able to publish on any work that I am involved in or connected with on the Internet, particularly my blog site. So as much as I would like to post about the really interesting work that I am doing (like executive conferences, designing service strategies, linking strategy with data analysis, innovation and ideas management, critical assessments of performance, foresight workshops, etc), I find that my ability to do so is severley limited, if not totally constrained. And I think that I have probably overstepped the line even saying that!
Despite that, I will test the boundaries where I can, and comment to the limits prescribed. To respond to Patrick’s challenge, I’ll try and get permission where needed and look into challenging this wider system so that we can comment on how things happen internally. Our new Premier has stated that he wants Government to be more open and accountable and I’ll try to help that along – to the best of my limited capacity!