Ethics in Public Administration | Code of Conduct in Public Administration

Ethics is the set of criteria that distinguishes a human being from right or wrong. It is also a narrow sense of code of conduct. This is a guideline (list of rules and principles) for employees working in the public sector to tell them whether their behavior is right or wrong, which will tell them whether to take something or not. In the same way, ethics is a principle of personal conduct. The rule or principle that distinguishes our conduct from right or wrong is the ethics that apply from the code of conduct. In particular, the required conduct is implemented by including it in the law.

This principle can be applied worldwide. Therefore, ethics is an absolute criterion of such qualities as honesty, unwavering value, and reliability. It can be implemented by following the code of conduct. Therefore, a code of conduct or morality provides guidance to employees and public officials in case of conflict between personal desires or interests and public responsibility. This is a standard that must be observed in relation to the employee's work behavior.

Why do we need Ethics / Code of Conduct?
  • To maintain a good image
  • To be exemplary in society
  • To prevent abuse of power and authority
  • To maintain political neutrality
  • To ensure administrative efficiency
  • To preserve high standards of conduct
  • For the purpose of fairness in practice
  • For professional excellence.

Norms of Ethical Standards in the Context of Nepal
  • Public officials should not use public office for their own benefit or the personal benefit of others.
  • Employees should not do their personal work during office hours.
  • You or your family should not take any donations, gifts, donations related to the organization for personal benefit.
  • Do not do any business without the prior approval of the government and do not accept jobs elsewhere.
  • Do not sell even if your subordinate wants to buy in any of your business.
  • Do not involve in the process of giving permission for contracting and buying and selling and fixing the price in an organization controlled by oneself and one's close family members.
  • Government offices should not be harmed.
  • Confidential information of your organization for yourself or other person should not be used while in office or even when out of office.
  • Regularly attend the office.
  • Should not have political or unwanted influence, should not participate in politics.
  • When you present yourself as a customer in the organization involved now or in the past, you have to take the order of your organization.
  • Respect for your superiors and treat your subordinates appropriately.
  • No one should be pressured to strike or close the pen and cause physical or mental harassment.
  • You should follow the conduct of your service and position.

If we have a Code of Ethics / Conduct, trust in the government will increase from customers, people, voters, etc. It also reflects what quality we can get from the government.
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Problems and Prospects for Management of Public Services

Public service is an essential service or commodity linked to the livelihood or existence of the society or the general people. Public service is a means of connecting the government and the general public. Such services are provided by the government through its administrative channels. In order to meet the needs of the people as a whole, the work performed by the state and the goods and services provided are public services.

The flow of public services is the process by which the government or the state provides services to the citizens in a fast, economical and effective manner, which can be guaranteed by the general public. It is the responsibility of the state to provide public services.

In Nepal, all the essential, basic, infrastructure-based, commercial and other services are provided from the public (government) level. Various policies, legal, institutional and procedural arrangements have also been put in place to make the basic service delivery systematic and effective. However, the service delivery does not seem to be as systematic and effective.

The public sector, civil society and the private sector are involved in running the state or providing services to the people. Through the collaboration of these three sectors, people get services and facilities. The public sector includes the following two sub-sectors:
  1. Political Subsector
  2. Public Administration Subsector

1. Problems of Political Subsector

(A) Rise of unconstitutional power

If a leader or a person becomes a minister or a leader of higher level, all his relatives will be powerful, which will greatly affect to the transfer, promotion, appointment and so on.

(B) Emergence of Vicious Politicians to Enhance the Financial Status of the Party

There is a situation where a certain ministry i.e. a powerful ministry is needed and the party has a habit of supporting such.

(C) Critical situation of party operation

There is a crisis of confidence between the government and the party. Even if one's own party joins the government, there will be disputes. There was a lot of undisciplined work even within the party. All the parties started splitting. Leaders had zero vision. The tendency to try to join the government by removing one's own party government is emerging. The political sector is not right and other sectors cannot be right, so this is a very important sector. Such defects need to be rectified.

Problems of Civil Society
  • Civil society should be fair and non-profitable, not as sister organizations of political parties.
  • They are morally corrupt and unaccountable to the people.
  • They have not been able to represent the voice of the people.

Problems of Private Sector
  • Less responsible towards the society due to profit motives.
  • The latent syndicate system is still prevalent.
  • Trade unions have made the private sector unhealthy.
  • Salary facility is very low.
  • There is a situation of extreme labor exploitation.
  • The private sector is becoming more cities centered.

2. Problems of Public Administration
  • Extremely politicized and non-professional.
  • Lack of work culture in the public sector and insensitivity to the problems, demands and needs of the people.
  • Basic public service delivery to the general public has not been guaranteed.
  • Extreme abundance of nepotism, favoritism and violation of merit system.
  • The performance of public services is not satisfactory.
  • The voice of the people is least reflected in public administration. People are given what we think is right. The public administration has ignored the demands of the people.
  • Salary facility is very low and overall people with sharp intellect have not entered the administration. Average people run administration.
  • Not enough attention has been paid to transparency and accountability regarding the availability of public services. Also, corruption in service delivery could not be controlled.
  • Lack of clear demarcation between politics and administration.
  • Representation of some castes is still low i.e. public administration is not inclusive and representative.

Some more problems:
  • There is a situation where the right person in the civil service is not in the right place at the right time. When a person is not in the right place, then the overall capacity of the nation is weakened. Proper planning has never been done.
  • The approach of conducting public service management activities in a systematic manner has not been followed.
  • The role of fair and neutral civil society in the management of public services has not been enhanced.
  • Lack of sustainable system. There is no sustainable system in transfers, promotions, postings, scholarships, foreign trips, etc.
  • Our governance reform is fragmented, ad-hoc and without overall reform; Only focus on structural change.
  • The qualitative and regulatory role of the government is weak. There is lack of monitoring in areas like education, transport, health etc.
  • There is a complete lack of concept and use of human resource development. There is nothing greater than wisdom and knowledge, but wisdom is despised.
  • Local bodies could not function properly.
  • Economic and social development works have not been able to move forward in the required proportion, which has created obstacles in expanding the flow of public services.
  • It seems that attention has not been paid to those who perform less work.
  • Low status and situation of public institutions and authorities.

Prospect to solve the aforementioned problems

Measures to solve the problems of the political sector
  • There should be timely improvement in politics.
  • There should be development of good political culture.
  • There should be political will and commitment.
  • The best brain should go in the political sector.
  • Minimum educational qualification should be determined in the political sector as well.
  • Politicians should be sent on study visits time and again.

Measures to Solve the Problems of Civil Society
  • There should be a fair civil society.
  • The registration of the backward civil society should be revoked.

Measures to Solve the Problems of Private Sector 
  • There should be effective monitoring. The consumer committee should be more active. Consumers should be aware. The private sector must be punished for wrong doings. The bureaucracy should be stronger. 

Measures to Solve the Problems of Public Administration
  • Government should be responsive, sensitive.
  • The government should take the lead in meeting the demands of the people.
  • The immediate problems of the citizens should be solved.
  • Every organization should monitor time and again by forming a team.
  • Quality should be regulated.
  • To resolve the situation of impunity.
  • The government should be strong in anyway.
  • Measures should be taken to increase the morale of the employees who are doing a good job.
  • Steps against corruption should be made stronger.
  • There should be dynamic pay policy.
  • Bodies such as the CIAA and the Vigilance Center need to be strengthened.
  • Multi-staffed staff should be arranged.
  • There should be a result oriented public sector rather than a procedural one.
  • A predictable promotion system should be developed.
  • Political will and commitment;
  • Professional will and
  • Public wills lead to the development of the country.

These three wills are collectively called national wills. In order to make the availability of public services effective, the management of the public sector must be strengthened as a whole. For the management of Nepal 's public sector which is surrounded by problems and challenges, there is a lot to be done. In the view of the various efforts being made by other nations of the world to achieve the new Millennium Development Goals, Nepal's public administration also needs to move forward with a concrete vision for the future. There is a need to give special emphasis on other aspects such as good governance and transparency, demarcation between politics and administration, innovative public management, public accountability, favorable public service policy, strong and effective staff, simplification of procedures, public grievance management, information management, increasing participation of local bodies, economic discipline, effective monitoring and evaluation.

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Public Accountability in Public Administration

Public accountability means that a person or official holding a public office in the field of public administration is accountable to his / her clients and the general public. This includes the notion that the officials involved in the system of governance cannot act arbitrarily or have an authoritarian tendency. 

Public accountability is the individual or collective duty to inform the stakeholders or service recipients or the general public in a factual and credible manner about the decisions and actions taken by the persons holding public office while performing their duties and responsibilities. Public sector and public accountability is a basic requirement in a democratic system of governance. 

Public accountability is needed to run the government with the trust of the people, to make the system of governance democratic and people-friendly, to prevent the system from being autocratic and corrupt, to increase citizen participation and contribution to the system of governance and to improve relations between citizens and administration. 

Significance of Public Accountability
  • Accountability is the foundation of democracy, the people have the absolute right to ask or investigate or test or question the civil service or government system.
  • Where accountability increases, transparency increases and when transparency increases, corruption decreases.
  • Responsibility for legitimizing government activities. Actions without accountability do not get legitimacy.
  • It increases the credibility of the government as well as the credibility of the government.
  • Accountability enhances the quality of services, tools and goods provided to the people.
  • Corruption can be controlled by maintaining economic discipline.
  • Honesty towards the state and those who are dishonest will be punished.
  • Equality, service-oriented and result-oriented working system is developed.
  • Ensures regularity of public service.
  • Contributes to maintaining the rule of law.
  • Good governance is guaranteed in the nation due to accountability. 

Barriers / Problems to Accountability
  1. Corruption: Abuse of one's position, undue influence and protection, taking advantage of one's own work, corruption in policy, taking money by threatening, taking bribe, laundering black money etc.
  2. Decline in the moral values ​​and beliefs of the society or system: Under this, there are no honest and efficient officials in the system and to do any work for the sake of material happiness.
  3. Lack of accountability due to poverty, deprivation, low salary allowance, lack of job security.
  4. Due to illiteracy, low educated rate, lack of consciousness, it has become difficult to fulfill the responsibilities.
  5. Government monopoly in the mobilization of resources.
  6. The people-elected government is indifferent to the people.
  7. Confidentiality in the bureaucracy is also a factor. There is also a conflict over the data and information to be given to the people.
  8. Ancient Technology and Procedures: - Technology, technical staff, resources, performance criteria or procedures are outdated or not time-relevant.
  9. Lack of fairness, efficiency and accountability in the bureaucracy.
  10. Employees are politically divided and lack professionalism.
  11. Problems of coordination and duplication: Due to lack of inter-agency coordination, the same work is done up to 4-5 times; it has played a big role in doing unaccountable work, which makes the work slow.
  12. Lack of adequate and quality information required to make prudent decisions.
  13. The role of the Parliamentary Committees including the Auditor General is not professional (responsible). 

How to increase accountability?
  • The administration mechanism should be made people-oriented, transparent and credible.
  • While working, work should be done according to the criteria that can be observed, measured and tested.
  • Open information and the right to information also help to promote accountability.
  • Public officials should be given clear and defined responsibilities including functions, duties and rights.
  • Decentralization: If the power is centralized, public official will not be abide by their responsibilities, they can do unwanted work, they think themselves as powerful.
  • Public procurement processes should be efficient and effective in which measures like e-bidding can be adopted.
  • Must be an independent and powerful ombudsman.
  • Political commitment and willpower is very important.
  • The morale and motivation of the employees and public officials should be made high.
  • Necessary resources should be managed and used properly.
  • There should be simplification in working style and working method.
  • There should be good relations between politics and administration.
  • There should be fairness and transparency in the policy decision and planning process.
  • Complaints should be heard; public hearings and disputes should be settled.
  • There should be public participation and adequate participation of service recipients.
  • There should be service recipient or citizen participation in the work evaluation system.
  • The proceedings of the Parliament and the Parliamentary Committees should be broadcast live and investigative.
  • The moral character and actions of the leaders should be exemplary.
  • To empower the people as much as possible so that the government has no choice but to pay attention to the affairs of the people and be accountable.

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Corruption in the Public Sector / Public Service (a Social Crime) | Suggestions for Corruption Control

As corruption is a hot topic in public administration and politics, it is difficult to find an exact definition. Corruption can be experienced directly but it is not so simple to explain. In developed and developing countries, it is everywhere in terms of numbers. In this concept, a seven member Corruption Control Suggestion Committee formed under the coordination of Mahadev Yadav, it has been suggested that corruption should be defined in terms of various activities, trends and actions. In this regard, the following points contain the concepts used in the world and in Nepal: 
  • Corrupt conduct or bad character of religion, policy, act, law, culture, tradition and authority forbidden by the society.
  • Abuse of public office for personal or private gain according to the World Bank and other bodies.
  • Abuse of rights not only for the benefit of money but also for any other personal gain.
  • All sins committed for personal gain from misuse of public office or property.
  • Corruption is the symbol of failed governance.
  • Negligence in the performance of duty.

According to these defined bases, the following activities can be termed as corruption:

Bribery, embezzlement, fraud, nepotism, undue influence, use of force to obtain money and information, money laundering, bias in resource distribution, black money collection, kick back, abuse of office, policy Corruption etc.

Reasons / Causes / Factors of Corruption

Numerous reasons for corruption or non-eradication of corruption have been discovered through research. The following are the main reasons:

1) Broad Environment

As public administration is a sub-system of macro socio-economic system, corruption is not considered bad by the society and corrupt culture has flourished and due to not being untouched, the public administration become culture bound. Corruption has also spread due to the changing beliefs of the society towards acquisition of wealth and power.

2) Remains of a Corrupt History

During the Rana period, clerical service was the only qualification and such behavior and culture still exists.

3) Lack of Salary Facility

Salary facility which is not even sustainable; Salary allowance not tied to work and results; The pay scale is not dynamic but stable; Nepal's employees are receiving the lowest salary facility in the South Asian region.

4) Administrative Delays
  • Weber's model-based staffing process has been lengthy.
  • Allow corruption to flourish in terms of reducing the process or speeding up the work.
  • Action against corruption has been very long. 

5) Action Against Corruption Cases have gone Lightly 
  • Tendency of not being rude
  • Lack of research capacity
  • Political interference and protection
  • Corruption cases are not handled in a professional manner
  • Due to unnecessary pressure groups
  • Weak Statutory provisions
  • Anti-corruption cases are weakened and such people are either released or released with a small fine.

6) Inadequate Judicial System
  • Long process costly, corruption in the judicial system itself
  • Inadequate law.

7) Political governance is not good
  • Use of unconstitutional power
  • Rise of professional politicians

8) Civil society with weak and vested interests

Lack of caution in three aspects of good governance such as political governance, bureaucratic governance, civics governance.

9) Corrupted system cannot be reformed or inevitable, that is, always accepted in any form. 

10) Corruption is taken only as financial currency. In fact, corruption involves a large system and behavior. 

11) Lack of commitment and exemplary character from politicians. King of Thailand, Lal Bahadur Shastri of Nepal, etc. are exemplary character. 

12) Loss of professionalism in the journalist community. 

13. Both the bribe-giver and the bribe-taker should be punished. 

14) Policy and institutional corruption is on the rise. 

15. To see dismissal as a punishment for corruption.

Consequences / Effects of Corruption

Corruption has many direct and indirect effects on today's civilized society of the 21st century. Some of the effects are as follows:
  • Corruption kills the very essence of democracy and good governance. People become disgusted with the system of governance and criminalization begins in the society.
  • According to a World Bank report, where corruption is rampant, the nation's annual economic growth declines from 0.55 to 15 percent.
  • According to the IMF, the amount of black money in the world is 25 to 55 percent of the gross domestic product. Black money encourages crime, derails the market, and destroys the nation's financial system.
  • Corruption is growing as a crime of white poverty in an organizational manner.
  • Corruption in elections reduces representation in policy making and reduces accountability.
  • The pervasiveness of corruption in the judicial system spoils the concept of the rule of law.
  • The economic development of the nation has to bear huge losses.
  • The cost of development activities increases drastically because there is a higher price to be paid for commodities.
  • It destroys the market structure, because it eliminates healthy competition and encourages incompetent firms.
  • Brings social deviation, because investment is taken from the social sector to the capital sector in the greed of commission and bribe.
  • Due to corruption, the government is under constant pressure as it does not pay attention to the construction standards.
  • There will be an increase in fake journalism. Fake will create confusion in the society.

Suggestions for Corruption Control

As there is no specific blue print or check list, multi-pronged political approach or method should be adopted to solve the problem of corruption. Overall, multidimensional and sustainable measures can be a solid approach to its prevention. Some great tips are: 
  • Qualification based recruitment and selection and promotion process / system.
  • The better the salary, the less corruption there is.
  • Corruption will be reduced if there is a projected judicial system.
  • Corruption = Monopoly + Discretionary Right - Accountability. Accordingly, reduce monopolies and discretionary rights and increase competition and accountability. Doing so reduces corruption.
  • To strengthen the organizations fighting against corruption.
  • Allowed general public to have a strong voice through civil society and decentralization.
  • Emphasis on moral education.
  • To give autonomy to the investigation officer and witness security and investigation officers.
  • The posting / transfer of the employee should be done in a systemically correct manner so that the right man is in the right place.
  • There should be simplicity in administrative procedures.
  • To be limited to the jurisdiction of the government.
  • To make necessary arrangements for hearing the grievances.
  • Management and implementation of Citizens' charter with compensation.
  • There should be independent but competitive and professional journalism.
  • To make public procurement process competitive and transparent.
  • Enhance creative partnership between government sector and civil society.

Corruption is the black mark of a civilized society. It is a symbol of failed rule. Civil society, non-governmental organizations, government, concerned organizations and the general public should all work hard for its proper solution. For this, political commitment is also very much needed. Even if there is only a commitment, corruption can be controlled to a large extent by amending the existing laws and regulations if necessary. Some recent examples also confirm this element. However, in addition to the above-mentioned points, it seems to be more appropriate for the government to adopt strategic measures such as preventive, remedial, institutional building / development and public awareness strategies for the eradication of corruption. 

Role of Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) for Controlling Corruption

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) in Nepal is an independent and powerful constitutional body. The Commission has been established and developed with the main objective of controlling improper acts and corrupt practices in public bodies including the state administration of the country. In the current situation where corruption is increasing day by day in the country, it is the only independent and powerful official body to control it. The need for and the role accordingly is increasing. The role of Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) is discussed as follows: 

1) Punitive Role
  • Listening to Complaints
  • To do research
  • To prosecute
  • Sending a letter to the authority for departmental action
  • To draw attention
  • To warn
  • To recover the loss
  • To give orders to correct wrong decisions and to suggest improvements
  • To bring it under investigation if the undisciplined work has been done, etc.

2) Preventive Role
  • Formulating and implementing guidelines and code of conduct
  • Conducting inspections and monitoring
  • Making policy recommendations and suggestions
  • To make the government bodies with controlling role aware against corruption etc. 

3) Promotional Role
  • To spread information against corruption
  • Conducting various trainings
  • Organizing interactions, seminars, etc.
  • To play the role of coordination between various bodies against corruption
  • Expanding international contacts and relations
  • To conduct anti-corruption public awareness programs such as article writing, posting, radio program, street drama, etc. through various media.

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