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Reasonable personal use

APS Values and Code of Conduct in Practice publication provides advice for managers and employees in the APS about the application of the Code of Conduct and the APS Values. Section 7 of the publication discusses the use of Commonwealth resources in more

Most APS agencies have IT policies that allow employees reasonable personal use of IT equipment issued to them. But not all personal uses of Commonwealth equipment are reasonable, even if they come at no additional cost to the Commonwealth.

For example, in 2011 the Federal Court upheld the dismissal of an APS employee who had been accessing pornographic websites using a laptop issued to him by his agency. He did so on the weekend, in his own house, and using his own internet service provider.

His activities were detected by monitoring software that had been installed by the agency, and his actions were investigated as a suspected breach of the Code of Conduct.

Your agency will have specific policies on the use of IT equipment. Check what's on your agency's intranet or get advice from your agency's Ethics Contact Officer.

If you have any questions about this article, please submit them via the form on the Integrity: your questions answered page.

That investigation found that he failed to comply with a lawful and reasonable direction given to him by his employer and that he had failed to use Commonwealth resources in a proper manner.

If you're using a Commonwealth asset for a private purpose, ask yourself whether that's really a reasonable use. What would a bystander think of your actions? The community expects a high standard of behaviour from APS employees and doesn't like to see Commonwealth resources being misused.

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018