The Government takes a very serious view of breaches of civil service rules on conduct. Disciplinary action is strictly enforced.
Civil servants who misconduct themselves in any manner (e.g. failure to observe any government regulations or official instructions; their actions bring the Civil Service into disrepute, etc) are liable to disciplinary action.
A criminal conviction constitutes circumstances that may lead to disciplinary action, depending on whether and if so to what extent the service is brought into disrepute.
For minor and isolated cases of misconduct, such as lateness for duty, summary disciplinary action involving the issue of verbal or written warning may be taken.
Formal disciplinary action is taken for serious misconduct or repeated minor misconduct. Depending on the gravity of the misconduct or criminal conviction, punishment under formal disciplinary action may include reprimand, severe reprimand, financial penalty, reduction in rank, compulsory retirement or dismissal.
When taking formal disciplinary action against a civil servant, the Administration would follow procedures laid down in the Public Service (Disciplinary) Regulation made under the Public Service (Administration) Order. For rank-and-file staff and officers up to certain ranks in the disciplined services, provisions prescribed in the relevant disciplined services legislation would apply.
Proceedings under formal disciplinary action are conducted in accordance with the principles of natural justice. The accused officer is given the right to be heard and to make representations on the charges laid against him. Proper safeguards have been built into the disciplinary system to ensure that the punishment awarded is fair and reasonable.
An officer may be interdicted (i.e. suspended from duty) pending the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings if it is considered not in the public interest for the officer to remain in office before he is cleared of the disciplinary charge against him. The same interdiction arrangement may apply when an officer is being subject to criminal proceedings.
Apart from providing for disciplinary actions against misconduct, the Public Service (Administration) Order also contains provisions under which the Administration may, as an administrative measure, require an officer to be retired in the public interest.