CHAPTER FOUR: PROMOTING THE CODE
76. There is little point in merely stating principles
unless they are cultivated and implemented with vigour and imagination.
In itself, the Code cannot of course be a panacea for the maladies
of public service. We have earlier noted the importance of improving
motivation and tackling issues of morale. How can governments
77. There is an instructive overseas example that
has come to our attention. The Canadian Government has a well-developed
programme for discussing with Federal public servants issues of
values and ethics, aimed at trying to ensure that they are clear
about their roles and the standards of behaviour and performance
that are expected of them. Like the Public Service Code set out
above, it recognises the importance of maintaining democratic
accountability as well as high ethical standards and excellent
performance . The core values include "democratic values"
(including belief in responsible government and respect for the
authority of elected office holders), "traditional"
professional values (such as neutrality and speaking truth unto
power) , "new professional values" (like quality, innovation
and creativity), "ethical" values like honesty and "people"
values (including fairness and decency).
78. Of course these are just words. However, the
Canadian Government clearly recognises that simple assertion will
not achieve good performance. In July 2001 the Treasury Board
of Canada set out a comprehensive programme of training and discussion,
which is intended to explore how these demanding but important
values can work in practice. One seminal report called for "an
honest dialogue with employees". The aim was to make "the
public service an employer of choice". As the public services
in Britain continue their efforts to overcome staff shortages,
there may be lessons to learn from this.
79. Whichever approach is taken, we conclude that
there should be effective means by which the principles and practice
of the public service ethos can be actively promoted. 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. This would obviously go well beyond the work
of the current Civil Service College, and beyond the leadership
centres being established for such groups as headteachers and
police officers. It would involve thinking in a unified way about
all public services, and about the needs of all those people who
work in them. 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.
42 Report of the Auditor General of Canada, October
2000, Chapter 12 p 22 Back