Round Table: “Milestones and support for ensuring ethics and integrity in the public administration”

The ethics advisers can play a significant part in ensuring the ethics and integrity in public administration, by actively assuming their role

Ensuring the ethics and integrity in the public administration is both a must and a goal – breaking the rules in this area have an effect on the procedures and the mechanisms of the institutional functioning, on the quality of the services and the relationships with the citizens, on the image and the institutional prestige.  According to the law, at the level of any public institution or authority, a civil servant is appointed to monitoring the compliance with the rules of conduct and to counseling the civil servants from that institution on the ethic dilemmas they may encounter.
As a result, the training of the civil servants appointed for monitoring the compliance with the code of conduct and for giving ethics advice – the ethics advisers – can be quite relevant within this context and the authorities in charge should take the necessary steps to ensure the best framework for the ethics advisers so that it allows them the active and responsible assumption of the practice and the enforcement of the law’s The issues were debated during the round table “Milestones and support to ensuring ethics and integrity in the public administration “, organized on Wednesday, the 23rd June in Bucharest, by the Centre for Legal Resources, in partnership with Pro Democracy Association, within the project “The ethics counselor – balance and integrity in the public administration”.
Among the participants at the event there were representatives from: the Ministry of the Administration and Interior (the General Anticorruption Directorate, the Main Unit for the Reform of the Public Administration), the National Agency of the Public Servants, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of the Regional Development and Tourism, the Ministry of the Environment as well as from the county councils, city halls, NGOs, media.

The results of the project were also presented during the round table; among these there were:  a study on the enforcement of the laws regarding the staff whose duties are the monitoring of the compliance with the rules of conduct and the counseling on ethics issues, organizing training courses for the ethics advisers/NGOs representatives/ journalists, a practical guide for the ethics advisers, as well as the pilot implementation of some working tools, useful for the ethics advisers.
During the round table the participants debated a series of weaknesses, identified both at the legislative level and at the practical level of  the activity of the personnel with duties in ethics counseling and in monitoring the compliance with the rules of conduct, some of them being identified by the Centre for Legal Resources during its monitoring activity and within its analysis with regards to  the law enforcement and  the activity of the ethics advisers monitored in 500 public institutions/ authorities.
These outcomes served as starting points for tabling proposals for the improvement aiming at: strengthening the standing of the ethics adviser in the context of the corruption prevention measures and the improvement of the integrity in the public administration, his job description’s correlation with the imposed work load and with the institutional priorities, outlining a professional profile of the ethics adviser, developing of a comprehensive training program for the ethics advisers by increasing the involvement of ANFP inclusively, creating and making available for the ethics advisers of some methodological tools aimed at guiding the enforcement of the rules of monitoring the compliance of the norms of conduct and ethics counseling, giving appropriate support to the ethics adviser from the management of each institution etc.
Nevertheless, the event facilitated the exchange of ideas for using further the ideas and best practices of the participating institutions and organizations, allowing the shaping of future directions of action, aiming at strengthening the role and the contribution of the ethics advisers in the area of the corruption prevention and of the improving the quality of his public function exercising.
The round table was organized within the project “The ethics adviser- balance and integrity in the public administration”, developed by the Centre for Legal Resources in partnership with Pro Democracy Association, during April 2009 – June 2010, funded by the governments of Island, Lichtenstein and Norway, through the European Economic Area Mechanism.