Analysis | Politics

Need For Code Of Conduct For Public Office Holders

Senior public office holders such as Ministers, Members of Parliament, senior civil servants should adhere to certain standards of behaviour. There should be a code of conduct for such office
12 Mar 2020 15:23
Need For Code Of Conduct For Public Office Holders
From left: Opposition Member of Parliament Simione Rasova with Minister for Education Rosy Akbar, Assistant Minister for Women Veena Bhatnagar and Opposition MP Lynda Tabuya outside Parliament on February 20, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Senior public office holders such as Ministers, Members of Parliament, senior civil servants should adhere to certain standards of behaviour. There should be a code of conduct for such office holders.

Why is it so important?

We cannot have office holders such as SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula stand in Parliament and say that it is their time to speak and they can even speak lies.

Citizens expect public servants to serve the public interest with impartiality, legality, integrity and transparency on a daily basis.

They expect public servants to treat everyone equally, not to have allegations of sexual harassment, theft and abuse of office hanging over their heads. This is the norm in every other country and it should be demanded here in Fiji as well.

Work had been done on a code of conduct, but it needs to be expedited because there is a serious need for it.

Opposition Member of Parliament Niko Nawaikula. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Opposition Member of Parliament Niko Nawaikula.
Photo: Ronald Kumar

Fiji:

Fiji has the Code of Conduct Bill of 2018 is scheduled for a second reading in Parliament, which will be decided by the Parliamentary Secretariat. This Bill needs to be brought up for debate soon, even at the next sitting scheduled later this month.

What is done in other countries?

Recent ethics codes and codes of conduct for public servants:

Australia: APS Values and Code of Conduct

Brazil: Code of Conduct for the Senior Government Officers at the Federal Executive Branch

Canada: Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service

Greece: Code of Civil Servants

Italy: Code of Conduct for Government Employees

Korea: Code of conduct for maintaining the integrity of public officials

New Zealand: Public Service Code of Conduct

Poland: Civil Service Code of Ethics

Spain: Code of Good Governance

United Kingdom: Civil Service Code

United States: Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (Office of Government Ethics)

Ethics codes and codes of conduct for specific categories

Examples of codes for public office holders

Canada: the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders

Ireland: Cabinet Handbook

UK: Ministerial code: A Code of Ethics and Procedural Guidance for Ministers

UK: Code of Conduct for Special Advisers

Examples of codes for officials working in sensitive areas

France: Code de déontologie de la Police nationale (in French)

Korea: Code of Conduct for Customs Officers

United States: Code of Conduct for United States Judges

The Irish have a very thorough Code of Conduct for their senior civil servants.

Their Code states: “Principles of Ethical Conduct Holders of public office have a duty to keep faith with the public trust placed in them by the manner in which they carry out their official responsibilities. This is a personal responsibility and requires them at all times to promote the common good, fairly and impartially, to conscientiously and prudently apply the resources of their office in furtherance of the public interest and to observe the highest ethical standards in the performance of their duties.”

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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