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Nolan Principles


The Seven Principles of Public Life

The Seven Principles of Public Life (the ‘Principles’) apply to people who serve the public in any way.

1. Selflessness

Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

2. Integrity

Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.

3. Objectivity

In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

4. Accountability

Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

5. Openness

Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

6. Honesty

Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

7. Leadership

Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

The government is divided into three branches: the judiciary, the executive, and the legislative. Public service is an important arm of the executive, it deals with the implementation of public policy and is at arm's length from the public, it constitutes the government machinery that is accessible to the larger public hence involves greater public dealings.

The effectiveness of public servants is critical to the smooth operation of any administrative system. Public servants are constantly engaged in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of policies and programs. The Welfare State idea has pushed the government and public services closer to the people; thus, a cordial connection between the public services, the government, and the people must be formed.

It is the backbone of bureaucracy and government in general since no matter how excellent a policy is, if it is not implemented properly, it is rendered useless. As to how public officials conduct has a direct impact on public faith in the government, they must act efficiently.


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