We have recently been contacted by DCJ about members who have provided personal references for colleagues who are undergoing criminal matters or misconduct investigations.
DCJ stated that this is a breach of the DCJ Code of Ethical Conduct and they were considering issuing letters of warning to staff who provided a reference in these circumstances.
It is clear that staff who provided personal references for their colleagues were acting in good faith and were not intentionally breaching policy. As a result, the PSA suggested instead that we be allowed to remind our members of section 8.16 of the policy rather than those letters being issued.
8.16 Personal references
Employees are not permitted to use department letterhead when writing a personal or character reference for another employee or client that references the personal assessment or opinion of the individual, and not those of the department.
Employees are not permitted to supply references to other employees who are the subject of a current misconduct investigation or criminal prosecution.
We provide this reminder because we don’t want our members to face misconduct allegations for generously providing a character reference to a colleague.