Code of Conduct
- Ethical and Professional Behaviour
In difficult situations, providers will need to be guided in their actions and decision-making by referring to the principles that underpin the Code and by considering the following issues that the:
- action/decision must be lawful
- action/decision must be consistent with the spirit and intent of the Code and other SIRA information
- action/decision must be consistent with the spirit and intent of the Code and intent of the workers compensation system that the provider is a part of
- consequences of the action/decision must consider the impact for the public
For the integrity of the provider, the action/decision must be justifiable to SIRA or relevant independent person.
All decisions a provider makes must show good judgement and be justifiable. Providers must always show professional behaviour during the conduct of their duties. Services must be efficiently organised to minimise disruption and avoid unnecessary costs to clients and their workplaces.
- Bribes, gifts and benefits
A bribe is any offer of money, gifts, services or benefits that is offered to persuade a person to act other than according to their duties.
Providers must not accept any offer of money, gifts, services or benefits that would cause them to act other than according to the Code.
Example of bribes, gifts and benefits:
A provider is offered a benefit (such as invitation to a sporting event of gift vouchers). This may influence, or be perceived to influence, expectations for referrals from that business, or to act in a particular way.
Providers must inform any person who offers them such money, gifts, services or benefits that it is against SIRA’s Code of Conduct for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers to make such an offer.
Providers are approved based on their professional expertise. Maintaining a high level of professional competence is expected. Providers have a responsibility to recognise and work within the limits of their competence and scope of practice. This may be done through further training and study, refresher courses, attendance at industry association and professional association activities, and through a variety of work experiences.
- Conflict of interest
Conflict of interest is a situation where a provider could be (or could be perceived to be) influenced by a personal/professional interest in carrying out their provider duties. A conflict of interest can occur where someone in position of trust has competing professional or personal interests. Such competing interests could make it difficult for an individual to fulfil their duties impartially and could improperly influence the performance of their professional duties and responsibilities.
Comprehensive and robust systems and processes must be in place to ensure all conflict-of-interest issues are considered and mitigated. Providers must ensure they maintain accurate record keeping demonstrating sound decision making and judgements of all conflict of interest matters. This must be considered during the management of a complaint.
Providers are required to have systems in place to effectively identify and address potential or actual conflicts of interest. Staff training must include the identification, disclosure and mitigation of conflicts of interest. Strategies may include discussion with peers, management, professional associations, industry contacts and/or the organisation’s senior staff contact person.
In assessing potential or actual conflict of interest consideration must be given to:
- personal, professional or business-to-business financial gain or benefit
- existing provider/client relationship or familial relationship
- business in which the service provider, friends or family have an interest
- worker preference or choice
- a worker's location (such as, rural and remote, availability of services)
- disclosing sensitive confidential information gained through employment to another organisation
- any financial or other personal interest that could be directly or indirectly influence or compromise the provider in performing services
Where a conflict of interest has been identified and suitable mitigation strategies implemented, these arrangements must be included in the worker’s recovery at work plan to demonstrate the issue has been identified and adequately addressed.
Examples of conflict of interest:
- A provider routinely receives direct referrals from an employer/return to work (RTW) coordinator who also has affiliations with the provider - for example, staff member of the provider. In this situation, the provider is receiving a financial gain/benefit from their duties as a RTW coordinator, and this could improperly influence their performance in either role
- A worker is undergoing workplace rehabilitation activities and is referred for treatment, such as psychological or physical treatment, within the same provider's business. In such situations it is essential that the provider has in place appropriate policies and procedures to ensure that the rights of all parties are protected. The worker should be offered a choice of practitioner and therefore should be full financial disclosure to the worker, the doctor, and the insurer/employer.
- Arranging a work placement where there is either a professional or personal relationship between the proposed host and the trainee, such as a provider-client relationship or a familial relationship. Where a potential conflict of interest is identified the provider will consider and implement suitable mitigation strategies.
- Privacy and Confidentiality
Providers are bound by the applicable privacy and health records legislation. Providers must treat all information obtained as a provider as confidential.
Personal and health information must only be used for the purpose for which it was originally collected, unless an exception applies under the applicable privacy and health records legislation.
All information related to clients must be kept in a secure manner. Providers must have a secure storage system for their records.
Providers should not disclose personal and health information unless the client consents to the disclosure, or another exception applies under the applicable privacy and health records legislation.
- Drugs and alcohol
A provider’s capacity to exercise sound judgement must not be impaired by the use of alcohol, drugs or other substances.
Workplace rehabilitation services must never be provided under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
When performing services, a provider must comply with anti-discrimination legislation and not discriminate against other people on any grounds covered by anti-discrimination legislation (such as sex or gender, marital status, pregnancy, age, race, ethnic or national origin, disability, sexual orientation, carer or family responsibilities, sexual harassment, or political belief).
- Political participation and public comment
Providers must ensure that any participation in political matters does not result in conflict with their duties as a service provider. This is important in order to maintain public confidence in the impartiality of the services and decisions of providers.
As members of the community, providers have the right to take part in public debate on issues of public concern. However, providers must be careful that public comments made as a private individual do not appear to be an official comment on behalf of SIRA or the NSW government.
1.9 Dangerous work practices
Providers must immediately cease an activity if it could lead to the client or other persons being placed in danger or injured.
Providers must advise SIRA immediately if an activity that they are participating in promotes an unsafe work practice.
1.10 False declarations
A provider must not make false or misleading declarations in their dealings with SIRA or during the performance of their workplace rehabilitation service activities. A declaration may be misleading if information is omitted or presented in a manner that enables a misleading view of a situation to be formed. This includes:
- failure to comply with reporting requirements
- falsifying records or other documents.
Providers must not collude with clients or other parties with the intention of providing false or misleading information.
1.11 Cooperation with SIRA
Providers must cooperate fully with officers of SIRA who are undertaking review and verification activities. This includes:
- responding honestly to questions
- ensuring availability of records
- cooperating fully with officers of SIRA conducting approval andverification activities such as information gathering, observation, monitoring, evaluations and reviews.
Providers must be professional, polite and cooperative in their dealings with officers of SIRA at all times.
Obstructive and unreasonable behaviour may result in approval being denied or disciplinary action.
Providers are required to display the following values: integrity, honesty and objectivity.
The Code of Conduct is included in Appendix Four of the Guide to the Nationally Consistent Approval Framework for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers