Seven principles of public life: time to rethink

There has been a series of scandals in public administration in Britain, where people have been neglected or abused, and those in authority have ignored them; but the process of governing ‘ethical conduct’ in public administration in Britain does not begin to address the issues.   I’ve just had a paper published in Public Money and Management (2014, 34(1) pp 11-18).  This is the abstract:

The Seven Principles of Public Life, developed by the Nolan Committee, claim to be concerned with the development of an ethical culture, but they have been imposed by central authority. The principles are muddled and unclear, but beyond that they have signally failed to relate to many of the key ethical issues which have arisen in public services in the intervening period. This paper reviews both some of the alternative principles that might be considered, and the possibility of a different approach based on virtue ethics.

Despite the official publication date of 2014, it’s been online since 29th November.  However, the paper is currently behind a paywall, so only University-based readers are likely to have access to it for the while.

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