Peter's Blog

The Nolan Principles

Written by Peter Johnston on .

In this Sunday's sermon I mention briefly the Nolan Principles or the Seven Principles of Public Life. You may be interested to read a bit more about each of these than I was able to give in the message.

The Seven Principles of Public Life

The Seven Principles of Public Life (also known as the Nolan Principles) apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder. This includes all those who are elected or appointed to public office, nationally and locally, and all people appointed to work in the Civil Service, local government, the police, courts and probation services, non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), and in the health, education, social and care services. All public office-holders are both servants of the public and stewards of public resources. The principles also apply to all those in other sectors delivering public services.

1.  Selflessness

Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.

2.  Integrity

Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.

3.  Objectivity

Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.

4.  Accountability

Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.

5.  Openness

Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.

6.  Honesty

Holders of public office should be truthful.

7.  Leadership

Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

These come the first report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life led by Lord Nolan, and have been adopted in many Codes of Conduct. You can find out more here.

It is lamentable how little regard there is for these principles in the actions and utterances of the most powerful people in our current UK Government.