Ethics in Civil Services

The ethics and values for the civil services have to be different and properly structured from those for the citizens or other sectors of the society because civil servants have special obligations to the community. These are certain values expected of civil servants and, therefore, it is necessary that civil service values should reflect them. Civil service will be effective if ethics and values are followed in the following categories of relationships and behaviours:

  1. with the government, legislature, and political system.
  2. with the community.
  3. in the way the civil servants work. and
  4. in the workplace.

It is because of these obligations, the society in general has a right to expect that civil servants observe certain special values. It is therefore, to note that the Draft Civil Services Bill, 2009 proposed a set of ethical values for the civil services and civil servants. They are:

  • Democratic values;
  • Patriotism, upholding national pride and allegiance to the Constitution and the law of the nation;
  • sovereignty;
  • Accountability, objectivity, impartiality, honesty, diligence, courtesy, transparency, compassion, courage, perseverance, self-discipline, loyalty, and faith;
  • Spirit of service and self-sacrifice;
  • Empathy towards weaker sections and respect for human rights;
  • Absolute integrity; and

It is necessary that civil servants should discharge their functions fairly, efficiently, and impartially. It is also necessary that the community should be in a position to trust the civil servants for their personal integrity as well as for the integrity of the decision-making process.

The community also expects that the decisions and actions of civil servants-within the civil service and reflect the policies of the government of the day and the highest of standards. It is also expected that the civil service will maintain the same standards of impartiality, professionalism, and responsiveness in serving successive political governments.