The Government clarified the Committee’s terms of reference in 2013, so that its remit to examine standards of conduct of all holders of public office, encompassed all those in the delivery of public services.
As public services are increasingly being delivered from those outside the public sector, the Committee wanted to test the expectations and assurance of ethical standards in the public service market.
In addition to the Committee meeting with commissioners and providers themselves, the report draws on new qualitative research conducted for the Committee by Ipsos MORI with commissioners of services, providers and the public.
Key findings from the research included that the public felt the same ethical standards should be upheld by any organisation providing public services regardless of sector and supported by codes of conduct; and commissioners rarely articulate ethical standards to providers explicitly.
The report makes a number of recommendations to Government to ensure that proportionate ethical standards are made explicit in commissioning, contracting and monitoring arrangements for all those delivering public services on behalf of the taxpayer.
The Committee on Standards in Public Life has published an online guide for providers of public services – whether outsourced or in-house – to promote high ethical standards. The guide follows up on the Committee’s earlier report which established the importance of common standards for all those delivering public services.