Independent report

Ethics in Practice: Promoting Ethical Standards in Public Life

The Committee published its report on Ethics in Practice: Promoting Ethical Standards in Public Life on 14 July 2014.


Ethics in Practice: Promoting Ethical Standards in Public Life - Full Report

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When Lord Nolan published the First Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life in 1995 he not only set out the Seven Principles of Public Life but also three ‘common threads’ for ensuring that those Principles were properly understood and followed – Codes of Conduct, Independent Scrutiny, and Guidance and Education. Lord Nolan was clear that and essential part of the necessary guidance and education on ethical standards was induction training.

In this report we revisit the subject of ethics in induction. We note good practice, highlight areas where standards are at risk, and identify where improvements could be made to embed ethical standards more effectively. We have drawn on a survey of Local Authorities’ approaches to induction and training, and commissioned a paper from Professor Mark Philp on the subject of ethics in practice for politicians – Public Ethics and Political Judgment.

From the evidence we have seen, induction is an effective means of heightening that awareness and building a real understanding of what the Seven Principle of Public Life and codes of conduct mean in practice, and leadership is key to the effectiveness of induction processes.

It is our simple conclusion, then, that induction is essential to ensure that public office holders are aware of the standards expected of them, and therefore that ethical standards need to be included in the induction arrangements for all those public life.

Published 14 July 2014