Paper – IV
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
Probity in governance is basic requirement for successful operation of governance and for socio-economic growth of country. It is defined as a risk management approach ensuring procedural integrity. It is concerned with procedures, processes and systems rather than outcomes. The best probity processes do not however guarantee a Board will be immune from problems or criticism. It requires that Boards act ethically, impartially, honestly and with fairness. To make probity in governance effective, government must have to eliminate corruption. The other requirements of probity are effective laws, rules and regulations governing every feature of public life and an effective and reasonable implementation of those laws. Undeniably, a proper, fair and effective implementation of law is aspect of discipline.
It has been defined by intellectuals that Probity is the indication of ethical behaviour in a particular process. The term probity entails integrity, uprightness and honesty. For Government workers and agencies, maintaining probity involves more than simply avoiding dishonest conduct. It involves applying public sector values such as impartiality, accountability and transparency. Probity is also considered as being incorruptible. However, probity goes beyond the avoidance of being dishonest because it is determined by intangibles like personal and societal values. It is also regarded as strict obedience to a code of ethics based on undeviating honesty, especially in commercial (monetary) matters and beyond legal requirements. Ensuring probity in public sector activities is part of every public official’s duty to adopt processes, practices and behaviour that enhance and promote public sector values and interests.
Probity in Governance also elucidates that apart from the traditional civil service values of efficiency, integrity, accountability and patriotism, it is essential for civil officers to instruct and adopt ethical and moral values including probity in public life, respect for human rights and compassion for the downtrodden and commitment to their welfare.
Objective of Probity in Governance: There are several objectives of probity of governance that are mentioned below:
To ensure accountability in governance;
To maintain integrity in public services;
To ensure compliance with processes;
To preserve public confidence in Government processes;
To avoid the potential for misconduct, fraud and corruption.
There are several generally accepted probity principles that serve to maintain the integrity of a process. These are: Accountability: is the obligation to be able to explain or account for the way duties have been performed. Government should have appropriate mechanisms in place to show that they are accountable for their practices and decisions.
It is significant that the process is transparent to the maximum extent possible so that all stakeholders can have confidence in the outcomes. Transparent, open processes also minimise the opportunity for, and the risk of, fraud and corruption.
In job conditions, all public servants are under a general obligation of confidentiality to their employer. Accordingly, it is not necessary for members of the Government Project Team who are public servants to execute a confidentiality undertaking in relation to the project. All Government advisors, members and any other third party that is privy to commercially sensitive information must provide a formal undertaking to Government that they will keep this information confidential.
People and organisations interacting with an organisation (e.g. recruitment) are expected to be impartial at every stage of the process. If they do not believe the process is honest, fair and impartial, or that a form of bias is acting against them, it could damage the reputation of the organisation. Conflict of interest: This is where the public duty and private interests of a Board or staff member may be in conflict; resulting in their personal interest incorrectly influencing their official duties and responsibilities. Stakeholders have the right to anticipate that Board and staff members will only make decisions in the best interest of the organisation. Perceived and potential conflicts can be as damaging as actual conflicts. Conflicts of interest must be disclosed so procedures can be implemented to manage them effectively and mitigate the impacts.
Probity and Good Governance
Smooth civil service assists to foster good policy making, effective service delivery, accountability and responsibility in utilizing public resources which are the features of good governance. Good Governance is being used as an all-inclusive framework not only for administrative and civil service improvement, but as a link between Civil Service Reform and an all-embracing framework for making policy decisions effective within viable systems of accountability and citizen participation. Governance reform is basically the improvement of legal and policy frameworks to develop good decision making environment; participatory systems for elements of civil society to become actively involved in policy and programme formulation and their implementation; and an effective and transparent system and process for control and accountability in government activities.
Although comprehensive reform that involves governance, the civil service, and civil society is perfect, it needs sustained commitment from political and administrative leaders. Some countries have undertaken widespread reforms and got mixed results. Major challenge is to find and link among the governance, civil service and civil society components, determining which require priority responsiveness.
To summarize, Probity is vital feature of governance which facilitates government to act ethically and perform its duty. It has been observed that due to different irregularities such as corruption; insensitivity; red tapism, irresponsibility; disregard to office and law, the governance system losing its credential people. Therefore it is imperative for government to follow rules and adopt policies of impartiality, transparency to gain confidence of populace.