This study proposes a framework that can be used by the internal audit function to assess the culture of
ethical behaviour of South African national government departments. The limited number of published articles
on the use of ethics frameworks in government, especially in the South African context, indicated a need for
such a framework. A review of the literature on the culture of ethical behaviour, related governance
frameworks, and the role of the internal audit function was conducted. Based on the literature, attributes for an
ethics framework were identified and tested with three interviewees from one national department. The results
of the study indicated that an ethics framework could assist the internal audit function in assessing an
organisation’s ethical culture and help management to enhance the organisation’s ethical health.