EU4PFM supports the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine in strengthening its institutional culture

What should be a Code of Ethics and Conduct for a Civil Servant? The EU4PFM Project Experts, Mr. Quentin Reed (Czech Republic) and Mr. Goran Klemencic (Slovenia), discussed this at a meeting on Anti-Corruption Policy and Integrity, held on September 30, 2021, with the representatives of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine.

This event was an opportunity for employees of the Department for Prevention and Detection of Corruption and the Department of Human Resources and Organizational Development of the Secretariat, the Reforms Support Office of the Ministry of Finance to learn about international experience in assessing corruption risks and implementing the codes of ethics and conduct in Europe.

During the event, Goran Klemencic noted that Ukraine has the most developed anti-corruption apparatus among all European countries, which often serves as an example of how similar reforms should take place in other countries. At the same time, this demonstrates a rather big challenge, which the state must address in the field of combating corruption. Proper work on assessing corruption risks, identifying the causes of corruption and applying measures to eliminate them, strengthening the culture of good conduct through the development and implementation of codes of ethics and conduct of the Civil Servants, and other measures can have a synergistic effect in combating corruption, experts say.

Codes of conduct for Civil Servants have been developed in many countries. Such documents have also been introduced in the Council of Europe, as illustrated by the Model Code of Conduct for Public Officials of the Council of Europe and the European Code of Good Administrative Behavior.

“The Code is not just a set of rules, mechanisms for tracking violations and imposing sanctions. This document defines the conduct standards of an official, what a citizen can expect from a Civil Servant. The Code is also a tool by which employees can protect themselves from unjustified pressure, both inside and outside the organization,” says Quentin Reed. “Codes are halfway between the principles and laws. It’s not just about bans. To what extent can the law be enforced? Thanks to the Code, we are trying to create an institutional culture.”

The participants of the meeting exchanged their views on issues that should be normally covered in the Code, namely:

  • work ethic;
  • loyalty;
  • attitude to others;
  • impartiality;
  • transparency and confidentiality;
  • conflict of interest;
  • what to do about the gifts;
  • political neutrality;
  • corruption;
  • application of the Code;
  • liability for violations.

For the successful implementation of the Code, according to the experts, it is also important to encourage employee participation in its development and a broad system of training in its application. It was also noted that the Code of Ethics for US Government Officers (1989) was adopted after 2 years of consultation with the country’s civil servants and extensive online training was completed. The participants of the meeting discussed the possibilities of applying the European experience in this field during the development of the draft Code of Ethics for Officials of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine.

Let’s implement changes together!