Promoting ethical behaviour in practice
We need to make sure that all of those in public life, whether employed, appointed or elected, are aware of their ethical responsibilities and are prepared to act as ethical leaders. The public expects nothing less.
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.
Public servants must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
They are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
They should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing. Most of all they should be truthful.
Public servants of moral fibre should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles.
The mechanisms for the detection and independent investigation of a violation are an important part of the ethical infrastructure. It is necessary to have reliable procedures and resources for monitoring, reporting and investigating violations of the rules of public administration, administrative and disciplinary sanctions, to crack down on unethical behavior.
Such mechanisms must be fair and reliable. They must protect the innocent and discover the guilty one. Penalties should be proportionate and applied consistently. If these penalties are not applied, violations of ethics are not considered as serious, which means that ethical standards will go towards destruction. We do not need this.