Lord Evans, Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, has written an open letter to public sector leaders to prompt reflection and discussion on the importance of ethical leadership in the UK.
The Committee has published ‘Leading in Practice’ a new report which shares examples and case studies gathered from public and private sector organisations on maintaining ethical organisational practices.
Lord Evans said:
“The demands on public sector leaders are numerous and diverse. They are leading government departments and public bodies that are often grappling with highly complex challenges – and it must be tempting to focus on delivery above all else.
“Doing things in the right way and in the public interest is critical for public confidence in the bodies that operate on the public’s behalf and supports the delivery of public services. A robust ethical culture supports effective risk management – if people see thinking about ethical issues as part of their job and feel safe to speak up, this can pick up potential concerns before they escalate. A values-driven culture is also good for morale and can help attract and retain the highest calibre staff.
“Our evidence shows that an ethical culture does not emerge by accident. It requires discussion and action.
“We recognise there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Our report shares examples of how different organisations have sought to build ethical values into their policies, practices and ways of working. In some cases, this came about following a crisis and in others, a realisation that new systems and processes were needed to support their employees. We share them, not as a ‘gold standard’ to reach but as a source of ideas and inspiration.
“We have identified 20 questions for leaders to help them reflect on whether there is more they can do to support their people to think about the Principles of Public Life and integrate them into all aspects of how their organisation operates. We want our report to prompt reflection, discussion and action.”
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