An inquiry has found former public service commissioner John Lloyd breached a code of conduct by emailing a think tank.

The newly-retired former head of the public service sent a document created by his agency to a right wing think tank, an inquiry has found.

Mr Lloyd was accused of breaching the Australian Public Service code of conduct by emailing research about enterprise agreements covering the bureaucracy to the IPA think tank.

Mr Lloyd was not found to have used his agency's resources to conduct research for the IPA, but he did ask his staff to complete it for his purposes as public service commissioner.

Public service merit protection commissioner Linda Waugh found Mr Lloyd failed to uphold his agency's good reputation and did not fulfil a requirement for bureaucrats to “act in a way that models and promotes the highest standard of ethical behaviour”.

But Mr Lloyd’s actions were deemed not to be of “sufficient gravity” to require sanction.

“While I have found that there were actions Mr Lloyd could have taken that would have minimised any such perception, I consider that those actions bear more greatly on his obligation to uphold the APS Values ... and the good reputation of the APSC and the APS,” Ms Waugh said.

Mr Lloyd abruptly announced in June this year that he would resign from his $706,000 a year job, and was forced to deny that the timing was influenced by a possible investigation.