Local Government Code of Ethics: Why have a code of ethical conduct in the workplace?

by Linda Kaidan

I have chosen the University of Western Australia as a model local government code of ethics. It standardizes principles, values and behaviors expected of both students and staff at this university. It is defined in writing in two documents. The first is the Code of Ethics and the Second is the Code of Conduct.

Who does this code of ethics apply to? It applies to full and part time employees and full and part time students as well as permanent and temporary staff. Visitors and contractors must also abide by this standard. In fact, all individuals present at this facility must assume the responsibility of following this code of ethics when undertaking any university business.  Those who do not abide by it are subject to discipline or dismissal.

The first part of the code focuses on equity and justice. It ensures that people will be treated fairly without discrimination. Its purpose is to prevent petty tyranny and the abuse of power. A just community is one where each and every member has equitable access to opportunities and resources.

The second ethical requirement is respect for people. Individual rights must be protected in order to maximize the potential of every person. Each community member must accept responsibility for their actions and behave with integrity. Each individual must accept social responsibility and act openly and honestly. Respect for others means resolving conflict with reasoned argument and respecting the listener.

The third ethical requirement requires that individuals do no harm. But they must also behave with courtesy and are expected to contribute to the common good.

I chose this as a fine example for a local government code of ethics because of its simplicity, clarity and impact. When each of us assumes responsibility for the common good, treats others with respect and behaves fairly, we can live and work in an environment that is sustainable and supportive and expect fair treatment and support from our peers.

Author:

This blog is my perspective on dwelling in our small village nestled among beautiful forests, farms and open landscapes. Educated in Israel and the US, I have an MS in Computer Science. My viewpoint has been shaped by world travel, friends and benefactors both strangers and people I know. Linda Kaidan