PHILIPSBURG--Government will make the required provisions to implement the already ratified Code of Conduct, Prime Minister (PM) Silveria Jacobs assured in a letter to the Integrity Chamber dated October 29, 2021.
The letter was published in the April 1, 2022 edition of the National Gazette. In the letter Jacobs confirms receipt of the Integrity Chamber advice provided on July 21, 2021. “Government recognises the need to implement the already ratified Code of Conduct timely and we will make the required provisions to do so by the first quarter of 2022,” Jacobs said in the letter.
The Integrity Chamber had advised government to promptly implement a Code of Conduct for civil servants. The advice was published in the August 6, 2021 edition of the National Gazette. According to the Chamber, the necessity for a Code of Conduct for government employees is based on Article 44, second paragraph, and Article 83a, under c, of the National Ordinance Substantive Civil Servants Law LMA. Within these provisions, it states that the Minister of General Affairs, or other competent authority, is responsible for the establishment of a code of conduct for civil servants.
There was previously no (general) Code of Conduct that is being applied to all civil servants within government. However, the Integrity Chamber said it was brought to its attention that a Code of Conduct was prepared by National Decree (dated May 29, 2019), signed by the governor and the minister of general affairs, and is awaiting implementation. “It is not clear why the Code of Conduct has not been implemented,” the Chamber said in its advice.
“A Code of Conduct guides employee conduct and plays a role in preventing conflicts and other integrity-related issues within the organisation. It also plays an integral role in ensuring ethical decision-making, while working as a communication tool that provides internal and external stakeholders with the prevailing rules, norms, and values of the organisation.”
In an effort not to delay the implementation, the Integrity Chamber has opted not to advise on the content of the Code of Conduct. However, the Integrity Chamber advises that after the initial implementation, the Code of Conduct should be evaluated on its effectiveness, its limitations and whether the goals and objectives of the Code of Conduct have been met.
This can be achieved by obtaining feedback from the various stakeholders on the practical execution of the Code of Conduct; observing and registering integrity risks and monitoring cases of non-compliance for the purpose of addressing these cases within the Code of Conduct and discussing organisational values that have not been addressed within the Code of Conduct.
In its advice, the Chamber said government should take into consideration that the Code of Conduct should be properly embedded into the organisational structure of the administrative body, which can be achieved by making it accessible by distributing the Code of Conduct to all employees and ensuring that new employees are also provided with the Code of Conduct.
It was also recommended that informative sessions be held for management in which the content of the Code of Conduct and the manner in which it should be enforced is thoroughly communicated.
Management should be coached on the practicality and enforcement of, and compliance with the Code of Conduct (train-the-trainer concept). Informative sessions should also be held for employees in which the content of the Code of Conduct is explained, and questions can be answered. The expected behaviours and possible consequences in cases of non-compliance should be clearly communicated to avoid misunderstandings.
Authorities should also ensure continued awareness about the Code of Conduct with internal and external awareness campaigns informing the employees and the public of their respective roles and responsibilities.
Expectations, rules, norms, and values should be periodically making use of practical examples.