In this article the author proposes that a compliance-based approach be supplemented by a value-based approach in attempts to reduce public service malfeasance. The compliance-based approach per se should not be regarded as the panacea for corruption. It could be argued that such an approach not only reduces malfeasance, but creates additional layers of oversight and reduces public service efficiency and effectiveness. In fact, additional structures and policies could create opportunities for corruption. Conversely, the value-based approach seeks to promote the ethical culture within a public institution. This research builds on an existing body of literature concerned with the ethical culture of organisations. This author identified the Department of Correctional Services as a case study to determine how the promotion of an ethical culture could enhance the implementation of corruption prevention policies. The author makes use of a survey to collect data. The captured data is analysed and subjected to exploratory factor analysis. A total of 11 factors of ethical culture are provided and the correlation between factors is provided with the Pearson's correlation coefficient. The findings indicate that the promotion of some factors of ethical culture coincides with reduced levels of malfeasance. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.