Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Seven principles of public life

Just now read the following.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life was established in October 1994, under
the chairmanship of the Rt Hon The Lord Nolan, by the then Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John
Major MP, with the following terms of reference:

“To examine current concerns about standards of conduct of all holders of public
office, including arrangements relating to financial and commercial activities, and
make recommendations as to any changes in present arrangements which might be
required to ensure the highest standards of propriety in public life.”



Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.


Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.


In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.


Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.


Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.


Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.


Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

These principles apply to all aspects of public life. The Committee on Standards in Public Life has set them out here for the benefit of all who serve the public in any way.

How many of us in the world can say they follow the seven principles of public life? Is it easier said than done? Is there a benchmark for adhering to these principles?

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