Select Committee on Public Administration Seventh Report


Motivating Public Service Workers

    (a)  We believe that there would be benefit in a systematic survey of the attitudes of public servants, possibly under the aegis of the Office for Public Services Reform (paragraph 45).

 Making the Ethos Clearer

    (b)  We believe that the Government should state more clearly the principles underlying public service and its reform programme, and put them in a Public Service Code. This should be a summary of its approach, its own version of the public service ethos, relevant to changing circumstances and the intensified demand for excellence in services, but robust in upholding the intrinsic nature of a public service and its traditional values. The Code should be short, simple and aspirational. Its components should include the standards to be reached in ethical behaviour, in service delivery, in administrative competence and in democratic accountability. The six principles we suggest at paragraph 74 below seem to us to include the most important points of such a Code, although they are undoubtedly capable of further refinement (paragraph 54).

Commitment to Quality Services

    (c)  We recommend that the Public Service Code be included in invitations to tender and as a contract clause for public service contracts, including employment contracts (paragraph 70).

    (d)  We recommend that all public services should be required to have in place effective mechanisms to involve staff in service issues (paragraph 70).

Fairness to Staff and Users

    (e)  We recommend that the Public Service Code should be considered for inclusion in the proposed Civil Service Bill (paragraph 71).

Promoting the Code

    (f)  We therefore recommend that the Government and other public bodies should consider the creation of a Public Service Academy which would allow public servants of all kinds and at all levels to discuss and develop the practical application of public service principles for their own work. It should also embrace those providing public services from the private, voluntary and not-for-profit sectors. An Academy of the kind we envisage (and its exact form clearly needs further discussion) could be a beacon for developing and disseminating public service values, perhaps including a certificate in public service that everyone working in public services could aim to achieve (paragraph 79).

    (g)  The Government should also consider more systematically (probably through the Office of Public Services Reform), how all public servants should be given the chance to strengthen their appreciation of all aspects of the public service ethos as expressed in the Public Service Code . This might take as its model the Canadian programme of promoting public service values among federal employees. We do not see the Code merely as a piece of paper that sits on a wall or even in the pocket or handbag, but as something that provides a principled framework for action (paragraph 79).

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