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Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics

Local Public Service Senior Managers: Code of Ethics

Outstanding people tirelessly deliver local public services[1] and serve communities across the UK each and every day. There are few sectors with the breadth and scope to impact positively on so many individual lives. It is a great privilege to work in roles that perform such a critical role and there are few professions where great works create such a visible and immediate impact. Senior leaders in local public services carry the responsibility of ensuring our efforts are focused in the most positive and effective manner, and are performed in the knowledge that, whilst the benefits can be enormous, the risks can also be great.

The great majority of individuals working as senior professionals in local public services act with honesty and integrity. However, any unprofessional behaviour detracts from the important service provided to the public and harms the profession’s reputation and with it, the ability to perform effectively. This code of ethics outlines the principles of behaviour that promote and reinforce the highest standards from everyone in senior professional leadership roles across our local public services.

The professional bodies of senior managers (see list below) across local public services have come together to develop a code of ethics for their members.

The code is an overarching statement of ethics, based upon behaviours and therefore focus on the individual, as opposed to group or organisational culture.

It is intended to be applicable to all those who hold senior management roles in local public services led by locally elected politicians.

The expectation of our residents and the professional bodies is that every senior manager working in local public services will adopt the code of ethics. This includes those engaged on a permanent, temporary, full-time, part-time, casual, consultancy, contracted or voluntary basis.

All staff in senior roles are critical role models. Good leadership will encourage ethical behaviour throughout the sector. Those who are valued, listened to and well led are likely to feel a greater sense of belonging, and so are more likely to act with integrity.

The code draws from, and in most cases be consistent with, a number of existing resources, most significantly the ‘Principles of Public Life’ published by the Committee on Standards in Public Life in 1995. A number of senior professionals within local public services will already be subject to specific professional codes of ethics and behaviour and this code does not replace these professional codes which are likely to be more detailed in nature.

[1] Defined by this guidance as local public services led by locally elected politicians.

Professional Bodies

  • Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers
  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting
  • Lawyers in Local Government
  • Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
  • Association of Directors of Children’s Services
  • Public Sector People Managers’ Association
  • Association of Directors of Environment, Planning and Transport
  • Association of Directors of Public Health
  • Association of Policing and Crime Chief Executives
  • Chief Fire Officers’ Association