Management of conduct and performance

This policy addresses the management of misconduct and unsatisfactory performance for department employees.

Changes since previous version

2024 May 21 - updated titles and references in policy document 'Guidelines for the Management of Conduct and Performance'.

Document history

2023 Dec 15 - Mandatory vaccination requirements under a direction and determination applying to teaching and school administrative and support staff has been rescinded by the Secretary. In line with this decision the policy statement has been updated accordingly and the Management of Conduct related to Non-Compliance with Covid-19 Vaccination Requirements Guidelines implementation document has been removed.

2023 Sep 29 - updated implementation document, Guidelines for the Management of Conduct and Performance. Updated references and links to to align with the introduction of the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2022.

2021 Nov 12 - updated the policy statement to reflect the new requirements for managing misconduct in relation to non-compliance with the department's COVID-19 vaccination requirements, Public Health Orders, industrial determinations and any directions for implementing these.

Added new guidelines, Management of Conduct Related to Non-Compliance with COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements, which apply to permanent employees employed under the Teaching Service Act 1980 and the Education (School Administrative and Support Staff) Act 1987. This reflects the new requirements, from 18 October 2021, the department requires full vaccination against COVID-19 for all staff working on government school sites operating under Level 3 plus settings. The Education Public Health Order, signed by the Minister for Health and Medical Research, also requires any worker (including volunteers) to be fully vaccinated before working on any school site from 8 November 2021.

2021 Feb 10 - Minor update to policy with the addition of the impairment procedures implementation document.

2020 Jun - this is a routine update which includes text revisions, updating contact details, repairing broken links and removal of references to previous legislation to the policy and implementation document.

Superseded documents


  1. Policy statement
    1. When managing misconduct and unsatisfactory performance for all employees, the process should adhere to the following:
      1. manage risk to all parties, with the protection of children the paramount consideration
      2. be procedurally fair and timely
      3. provide the opportunity to respond to matters raised about an employee where an adverse finding is contemplated.
    2. Principals and workplace managers should respond to cases of lower-level misconduct, where investigation is not warranted. Measures may include but are not limited to, providing guidance and or advice, mentoring, addressing a complaint, training and providing a written direction.
    3. Before beginning a performance improvement program, principals and workplace managers must ensure they have communicated and clarified performance concerns with the employee, and provided support to address the identified concerns.
    4. Principals and workplace managers undertake performance review processes in line with relevant improvement program procedures. The Professional and Ethical Standards directorate will review these processes.
    5. Principals and workplace managers must apply discipline or performance review processes consistently, without bias, and consider each case on its merits. They must conduct investigations and performance processes fairly, transparently and in a timely manner.
    6. The approach taken will depend on the nature and seriousness of the issue. A delegated director from the Professional and Ethical Standards directorate will assess each matter and decide whether remedial or disciplinary action is necessary.
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. The Guidelines for the Management of Conduct and Performance (PDF 1509.6 KB) apply to all permanent officers and ongoing employees of the department employed under the following legislation:
      1. Teaching Service Act 1980
      2. Education (School Administrative and Support Staff) Act 1987.
    2. The Guidelines for the Management of Conduct and Performance (PDF 1509.6 KB) extend to temporary employees, under these employment Acts, in the following circumstances:
      1. where an employee is charged with a serious offence
      2. where an employee is charged with and/or convicted of serious sex offences, or offences against children that would mean they are prohibited from engaging in child-related work.
    3. The Government Sector Employment Act 2013 and associated rules set out the legislative framework for managing unsatisfactory performance and misconduct by a person employed under that Act.
    4. Where an employee may be impaired, the impairment procedures (PDF 222.27 KB) may apply to ongoing and permanent employees. The procedure's diversionary pathway is not available to employees if they are the subject of:
      1. physical assault allegations involving an injury (or potential injury)
      2. sexual misconduct or sexual offence allegations.
    5. For all other employees, the process follows the requirements set out at 1.1.
  3. Context
    1. The department has responsibility to deal appropriately and expediently with the small number of employees whose conduct or work performance is not satisfactory.
    2. When addressing misconduct and performance issues, the department seeks to:
      1. ensure the safety and protection of children as the paramount consideration
      2. maintain appropriate standards of conduct and work-related performance for employees
      3. protect and enhance the integrity and reputation of the teaching service and public service
      4. ensure the public interest is protected.
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. Principals and workplace managers are responsible for managing low-level misconduct where an investigation is not warranted and addressing employees' performance issues. Their approach should be fair, timely and transparent.
    2. Delegations on managing misconduct and performance issues under the accompanying guidelines are published under the administrative delegations (PDF 285 KB).
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. The Executive Director, Professional and Ethical Standards monitors the implementation of this policy, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.
  6. Contact
    Executive Director, Performance and Ethical Standards
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