Ethics and accountability in public service

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Ethics and accountability in public service

Government ethics constitutes the application of ethical rules to government. It is that part of practical jurisprudenceor the philosophy of lawthat governs the operation of government and its relationship with the people that it governs.

It covers issues of honesty and transparency in government, dealing with matters such as briberypolitical corruptionpolice corruptionlegislative ethicsregulatory ethicsconflict of interestavoiding the appearance of improprietyopen governmentand legal ethics.

NPR Ethics Handbook | How to apply our standards to our journalism.

This same picture is mirrored, albeit in a patchy way, across US state administrations. Altogether the US model of Public sector ethics has become highly regulated and, some would say, cumbersome. Along with this stewardship, there is an expectation from the public that in conducting daily activities, the officials will practice fairness and equality.

They are also expected to maintain openness in their workings to ensure that they are operating within the public's perception of what is "right.

Social Responsibility and Public Relations

This treatise is often viewed as a tool of how a public official should not act in modern society, as it is an enumeration of the specific steps one should take to maintain control and power. This idea of control and power conflicts with the underlying principle of being a steward to the general public.

As such, this treatise is a springboard for ethical issues in modern-day times. Paul Douglasa former United States Senator from Illinois, argues that while many may secretly follow Machiavelli in their heart, most do not. It addresses issues such as bribery and the relationship of civil servants with the businesses in the industries they regulate, as well as concerns about transparency, freedom of information and sunshine laws, and conflict of interest rules.

Further illustrating the bifurcation of thought on ethics in government, Cody and Lynn discuss the two opposing factors: Believe that the end sought justifies the means to that end.

In other words, if an ethical solution is more costly, a utilitarian will argue from a standpoint of efficiency or effectiveness to justify a less ethical solution. Believe that certain absolute principles should be obeyed, regardless of the consequences.

An example of an absolute principle would be honesty. The definition of these two behavioral models is not necessarily exclusive. It is possible for a person to make a decision based upon a utilitarian stance and then follow a deontological stance for a separate decision.

This is because the concept of ethics is vague and ultimately is based upon principles and values, which will differ among situations and people. Public Sector Ethics vs.

Government Ethics[ edit ] Public sector ethics deals with ethics for those who serve in the public sector- primarily governmental and elected officials focusing on the public, whom they serve.

While public sector ethics overlaps in part with government ethics, it can be considered a separate branch in that government ethics is only focused on moral issues relating to governments, including bribery and corruptionwhilst public sector ethics also encompasses any position included in the public administration field.

Public administration ethics does cover relations among politicians, but it also covers politicians and the concerned parties in the outside world: However, public administrators are protected with due process rights as government employees, and ethical violations can be difficult to justify the removal of a person from an office.

Many questions about how ethics should be addressed in government exist. According to Cody and Lynn, the debate centers on the extent to which one would like to detail ethical standards.

If it would be viewed as a problem by the public, then the administrator should refrain from the action in question. The Honest Person Rule: Unless there is an underlying honesty within people, a set of ethical rules is meaningless. This supporting argument for the general guidelines maintains that for ethical standards to be practical an individual must be ethically sound from the beginning.

As Cody and Lynn point out, it is possible for a public official to act unethically, but not be personally dishonest.


As a consequence, broadly defined ethical standards are difficult to assess regarding concerns of ethical violations. In order to have greater accountability, more specific standards are needed, or a statement of applied ethics.

To further provide some definition, Rohr classifies ethics in government with some of the approaches that have been taken. The USDA devised a system where employees were asked questions and then asked to rank the actions as permissible, not permissible, and permissible with prior written approval.

Ethics, Transparency and Accountability

Rohr argues that this type of approach, known as the Low Road merely places an understanding of what not to do in order to steer clear of troublepp. The High Road, according to Rohr, is the basis of decisions upon a pursuit for social equitywhich is based upon political philosophy and humanistic psychology.

Ethical norms should be derived from the salient values of the regime; These values are normative for bureaucrats because they have taken an oath to uphold the regime; and These values can be discovered in the public law of the regime. The basic contention upon which Rohr builds his argument is that rulings by the Supreme Court are sufficient measures upon which an ethical framework can be constructed.

Rohr argues that this framework for ethical standards is strong because it relies upon a system of checks and balances in the judicial system and because it is built upon the interpretation of framers' intents of how and why government exists.

Levels of ethical decision-making[ edit ] Terry Cooper is an often-cited author in the field of public administration ethics. His book, The Responsible Administrator, is an in-depth attempt to bridge the philosophical points of ethics and the complex workings of public administration.In their second edition of Combating Corruption, Encouraging Ethics, William L.

Richter and Frances Burke update this essential staple to delve deeply into the unique ethical problems of twenty-first century public administration.

Accountability Reporting Electronic Filing. Welcome to the South Carolina State Ethics Commission Public Disclosure and Accountability Reporting System. For over 60 years, the Data & Marketing Association’s ethics and self-regulatory program preserves and protects the entire marketing industry’s ability to responsibly capture, process and refine detailed data to innovate marketing practices and technologies that benefit their customers and grow.

“Ethics and Accountability in the Philippine Public Service: Role of Citizens, Public Officials, Private Sector and Civil Society In my previous paper, I mentioned that values are as important in our government system as .

Accountability In Public Sector – A Pre-Condition For Economic Growth And Development In Nigeria: (A Case Study Of Nnewi-north Local Government Of Anambra State). As a result, the public service (PS) faces new tasks, new service profiles and techniques and is That is (the first time) we have to look intensively at ethical deficits and lacks of accountability.

Concepts of ethics and accountability connote a kind of behavior of integrity and responsibility.

Ethics and accountability in public service
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