Outline of the sessions:
1. The international perspective on Ethics in Public Administration
Sound public administration involves public trust. Citizens expect public servants to manage public interest, to deal with public resources properly on a daily basis, and to make individual decisions fairly. Fair and reliable public services and predictable decision-making inspire public trust. Integrity, transparency, and the accountability of public administrations are prerequisites for, and underpin, public trust as a keystone of good governance. In integrated political, social and economic areas, ethical standards for public administration cannot be treated solely at the national level; there is definitely an international perspective that unites countries with similar values and levels of perception of responsibility. We will also analyse trade-offs between a strictly regulatory approach and building an integrity culture in organisations. The first part of the conference will be devoted to discussion between several key international players in this field – starting with representatives from academia, leading NGOs, the OECD, the European Ombudsman and standard-setters in the audit profession.
2. Developments on Integrity in EU Public Administration
In the context of the European Union, positive leverage of the better ethical framework in the EU institutions is growing very fast as, sadly, does damage done by failure to engrain the key principles of ethical behaviour in everyday performance.
Any unethical behaviour by staff and Members of the EU institutions and bodies readily attracts high levels of public interest and reduces trust in the EU. This is why it is so important for the institutions to put in place adequate ethical frameworks to ensure that the risks of unethical behaviour are reduced to a minimum.
Given the proactive approach adopted by the EU's top political leadership (new European Parliament and European Commission) and their readiness and willingness to strengthen integrity in the EU administration, we will look at the EU institutions more specifically. In the second session of the conference, therefore, we will share our audit results, experiences, ideas and success stories and, perhaps, identify room for improvement with a view to enhancing the preventive power of ethical frameworks. The main contributors to the debate will be top officials of the EU institutions who are effectively in charge of designing and implementing the ethical rules.