Principles for Managing Ethics in the Public Service

Public service is a public trust. Citizens expect public servants to serve the public interest with fairness and to manage public resources properly. Following cases of corruption and misuse of office all over the world, most advanced countries have prescribed a Code of Ethics for public servants. There are seven basic principles prescribed for holders of public office: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness; Honesty; Leadership and this is given by Nolan, in his famous report of Committee of standards of Public life in Britain and it is universally applicable to everyone in public life, public officials can and should be punished for transgressing them without needing detailed explanations about the principles.

Great Britain’s Seven Principles of Public Life

  • Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.
  • Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organization that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
  • In carrying out public business, including making public appoint­ments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
  • Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
  • Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
  • Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
  • Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

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