Government sector employees should be aware of the principles that apply where a Member of Parliament (or his or her staff) contacts a government sector employee direct to seek information on a particular issue.
This practice is contrary to the long-standing tradition that Members of Parliament obtain information by writing to the responsible Minister, or making contact with the Minister's staff, or writing to the Head of the agency concerned. Adherence to this tradition assists in ensuring information given to Members of Parliament is accurate and as complete as possible.
Similarly requests by Members of Parliament to undertake inspections of Government organisations or facilities such as gaols, schools, etc should be the subject of an official approach to the Minister or the Minister's staff.
In any case where a Member of Parliament, irrespective of political affiliation, makes an oral enquiry direct to an agency, the Member should be informed that the substance of the enquiry will be relayed to the Minister's office which will make contact with the Member. Responses to oral or written requests for information should be channelled through the Minister's office.
These requirements do not apply to a Member of Parliament in respect to his/her electoral district. Members may communicate direct with branches of agencies located within their electoral district and arrange inspections of a facility by direct contact with the local person in charge.
If a government sector employee is approached by a Member of Parliament and is unsure how to respond, the employee should consult with a senior executive of their agency (who may in turn consult with the Minister) regarding the procedure to be followed.