Measures to Ensure Probity of Public Service

  • Statutory Code of Values and Ethics for Public Services – It should be expressed in simple language, easily understandable and should lay down fundamental values that ought to govern the conduct of public servants. For example, British Civil Services Code.
  • Ethical framework – Need for an ethical framework that should provide for prevention and guidance, investigation, disciplinary action, and prosecution.
  • Ethical Guidance – It should include training in ethics, awareness and development of essential skill for ethical analysis and moral judgement.
  • Sanction and punishment – Violation and breaches of the Code of Ethics should invite sanction and punishment under the disciplinary rules. A simplified disciplinary regime should be put in place which, while following the principle of natural justice, may speedily and summarily decide cases and take punitive action against delinquent employees.
  • Independent office of Ethics Commissioner – Need to create such an independent office on the US pattern to provide leadership in ethics and values. Ethics Commissioner should issue and interpret rules which govern standards of conduct and conflict of interest.

Though ensuring probity is governance is a tough task since it requires individual initiatives such as public servants internalizing the public service values and moral auditing at personal level. However, instrumental conditioning can be leveraged upon through legislative measures in the short-run to ensure probity in governance such as provision of punishment in case of violation of code of ethics.