Published on 27 July 2022 at 17:05

The Seven Principles of Public Life outline the ethical standards those working in the public sector are expected to adhere to. They were first set out by Lord Nolan in 1995 and are included in a range of codes of conduct across public life. We see these 7 principles as the minimum expectation upon those in public life. 

The seven principles are:

  1. Selfishness - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.

  2. Integrity - Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organizations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.

  3. Objectivity - Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.

  4. Accountability - Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.

  5. Openness- Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing

  6. Honesty - Holders of public office should be truthful

  7. Leadership - Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour and treat others with respect. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

These Seven Principles apply to anyone who works as a public office holder including:

  • those elected or appointed to public office, nationally, regionally, or locally,

  • those appointed to work in the civil service, local government, the police, courts and probation services, non-departmental public bodies, and in the health, education, social and care services, and

  • those in the private sector delivering public services.

We discuss here and elsewhere the enforcement of these seven standards of public life within the new Yorkshire administration’s constitution.

What other standards should be required of Yorkshire's Public Servants? 

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