Perspectives Across Frontiers
New Horizons in Public Policy series
Edited by Leo W.J.C. Huberts, Jeroen Maesschalk and Carole L. Jurkiewicz
Chapter 8: Ethical Governance in Local Government in England: A Regulator’s View
Gillian Fawcett and Mark Wardman INTRODUCTION Overview High-proﬁle corporate failures underpinned by poor standards of behaviour and/or corruption (‘sleaze’) have brought ethical governance into sharp focus in the United Kingdom in both the private and public sectors. The need to increase public trust and hold managers and politicians to account more eﬀectively are recurring topics in debates about publiclyfunded bodies in the UK. Low levels of trust, it is argued, are caused or sustained by poor standards of behaviour. There has been, therefore, a growing emphasis on the need for oﬃcials and politicians to adhere to the highest ethical standards to help increase the public’s trust in public bodies. Trust is at the heart of the relationship between citizens and government. It is particularly important in relation to services which inﬂuence life and liberty – health and policing. But it also matters for many other services – including social services and education. In these cases, even if formal service and outcome targets are met, a failure of trust will eﬀectively destroy public value (Kelly and Muesrs, 2002). The qualities the public looks for in diﬀerent leaders and professions varies according to the nature of the role. Honesty and trustworthiness are the most signiﬁcant personal qualities for public leaders. In contrast, the public looks to Civil Servants to be eﬃcient, competent and honest, while experience in running a business and professionalism are considered more important for business people. Therefore, while honesty and trustworthiness are important...
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