Values of State Administration and Fundamental Principles of Ethics
Issued pursuant to
I. General Provisions
1. This Recommendation prescribes the values of State administration and the fundamental principles of ethics - behaviour and conduct - which are observed by the institutions subordinate to the Cabinet (hereinafter - the institution) and the persons employed therein - public officials, civil servants, and employees (hereinafter - the employee).
2. The purpose of this Recommendation is to promote a common understanding of the values of State administration and the fundamental principles of ethics based thereon as well as appropriate action, promoting good governance and increasing public trust.
3. This Recommendation does not preclude the institution or a department, within the field of activity thereof, to provide for other values and broader scope of ethical requirements and the procedures for the application thereof in the code of ethics or internal laws and regulations, insofar as it is not in contradiction with this Recommendation.
II. Values and Fundamental Principles of Ethics
4. The employee shall act according to the following values of State administration:
4.1. professionalism and effectiveness;
4.4. acting in the public interest;
4.5. sustainability of the State and welfare of the society;
4.6. open State administration that is accessible to the society;
4.7. co-operation in State administration.
5. The employee shall comply with the following fundamental principles of ethics based on the values referred to in Paragraph 4 of this Recommendation:
5.1. professionalism and effectiveness:
5.1.1. uses and develops the competencies, skills, and knowledge necessary for public work, adopts the best practices of the area and private sector and international experience;
5.1.2. is dedicated and result-oriented;
5.1.3. works effectively, achieving the objective set forth and a qualitative result with the minimum resources possible;
5.1.4. actions, decisions, and opinions are grounded and weighted, based on the analysis of the situation, objective evidence, and data;
5.1.5. is open for changes and engages in the use of new approaches and innovations in State administration;
5.1.6. is aiming to achieve excellent customer service so that any person who interacts with State administration would be satisfied with the service received;
5.1.7. is aiming to reduce the administrative burden and to follow the principle "advise first";
5.2.1. fulfils duties with integrity - fairly, openly, and independently in conformity with laws, rules of ethics, and other binding requirements;
5.2.2. ensures impartiality and neutrality (professional independence) in the fulfilment of the duties. Refrains from actions that might question the integrity, impartiality, or neutrality of the employee or the institution;
5.2.3. avoids exposure to a conflict of interest and informs, in a timely manner, regarding private interests or other circumstances which might cause private interests and hinder the fulfilment of the duties with integrity;
5.2.4. informs regarding possible violations (blows the whistle) observed in the fulfilment of the duties according to the specified procedures. Respectful treatment towards the employees who blow the whistle;
5.2.5. is neutral in attitude towards any person, regardless of affiliation to a certain political or professional organisation;
5.2.6. is responsible for handling of information obtained in the course of work and protected by law and use thereof only for professional needs;
5.3.1. is responsible and careful in the fulfilment of the duties, being aware that his or her actions influence the overall performance of State administration;
5.3.2. is able to take clear and justified decisions and take accountability for them;
5.3.3. ensures worthwhile, economically viable, productive, effective performance in conformity with public interests;
5.3.4. is sensible, justified, and prudent in handling of taxpayer money, State property, and resources;
5.3.5. is able to admit his or her mistakes and take accountability;
5.4. acting in the public interest:
5.4.1. acts in conformity with public interests, achieving the maximum benefit for the State and the society;
5.4.2. is human-oriented, acknowledging the awareness of the needs and opportunities of the population (users, clients), respect towards the rights and legal interests of private individuals;
5.4.3. follows the principle of the rule of law and political neutrality, as well as relies on professional criteria regardless of his or her political affinity in the fulfilment of the duties;
5.4.4. observes the equality of all members of the society, as well as the principle of equity, seeking fair and proportionate solutions;
5.4.5. builds relations with private individuals based on co-operation, trust, and mutual respect;
5.5. sustainability of the State and welfare of the society:
5.5.1. promotes sustainable development of the State and public welfare through his or her work, ensuring proper legacy for future generations;
5.5.2. considers and skilfully balances the collective interests of the involved parties, areas, and State;
5.5.3. develops a thoughtful and predictable State policy in the area and legal framework, comprehensively assessing the benefits, risks, and application in practice;
5.5.4. is strategic and flexible in his or her way of thinking, able to adapt to changes in the society and global processes;
5.5.5. fosters respect towards the values and traditions of Latvia;
5.5.6. accumulates knowledge, purposefully promotes it, in particular among people needing such knowledge the most;
5.6. open State administration that is accessible to the society:
5.6.1. is involved for the purpose of ensuring comprehensive, topical and easily understandable information regarding the work of State administration which is easily accessible to the society. Explains the intended actions, nature of the decisions taken and benefits therefrom;
5.6.2. assesses what information either at the disposal of the institution or created by it could be important to the society, proposes and facilitates the ensuring of such generally accessible information, preferably in open data format;
5.6.3. plans and ensures effective public participation in the work of State administration and taking of decisions. Identifies the interested parties in a timely manner and uses suitable forms and methods for involvement, giving the opportunity to express one's opinion and to influence the decisions, as well as provides feedback when assessing involvement results;
5.6.4. regularly assesses the experience of private individuals, explores and considers their needs;
5.7. co-operation in State administration:
5.7.1. carries out work within State administration as a team work based on common objectives which covers cohesion and co-ordinated actions;
5.7.2. builds such relations with other employees and institutions which are based on respect and collegiality, shows initiative and flexibility;
5.7.3. is honest towards other employees and other institutions, fosters mutual communication and exchange of information;
5.7.4. becomes involved in solving of issues affecting several structural units, institutions, or areas, is open for co-operation initiatives with specialists of other areas.
6. In addition to the fundamental principles referred to in Paragraph 5 of this Recommendation, the heads of institutions and direct managers shall:
6.1. raise the awareness of the employees regarding the values of State administration and ethical behaviour;
6.2. always act according to the requirements which they have imposed on subordinates;
6.3. clearly formulate the directions of activity and priorities of the institution or structural unit, as well as accordingly the link of the structural unit with the objectives of the institution;
6.4. be able to define and turn into action the strategic vision of the institution or area and organise the work of the institution or structural unit in a way to achieve the planned result;
6.5. raise the awareness of the employees regarding the mission of the institution and State administration, mobilise them for the benefit of common interest, and promote mutual trust;
6.6. develop a work environment based on openness, involvement, professionalism, respectful and equal treatment;
6.7. encourage involvement of the employees in the development of the institution, support their professional growth and initiative, interest in the fulfilment of the duties, and performance improvement;
6.8. promote continuity of professional knowledge, introduction of new employees to work and their growth;
6.9. express criticism regarding the work of the employee in person and justify such criticism. When expressing a positive assessment for team work, it is necessary to emphasise the importance of co-operation in achievement of common goals;
6.10. continuously improve the internal control system of the institution and work processes in order to reduce potential violations and to increase work efficiency of the institution;
6.11. regularly assess the operations, the involvement of the employees, and the customer satisfaction in order to continuously improve the work of State administration.
III. Open Communication with Lobbyists
7. In communication with lobbyists (a private individual who upon his or her own initiative in his or her own interest or in the interests of other private individuals communicates with the employee or the institution in order to influence drafting or taking of decisions and such communication does not derive from the procedures for ensuring the coordination of draft decisions and public involvement specified in laws and regulations) the employee shall follow the principle of openness, equality, and integrity.
8. Equal opportunities to receive information and communicate with the institution and its employees shall be ensured to all interested lobbyists.
9. The employee shall inform the direct manager or the head of the institution regarding the expected meeting with the lobbyist, as well as disclose the information received from the lobbyist.
10. The institution shall ensure openness both in communication with lobbyists and when disclosing information regarding lobbyists with whom such communication has taken place - what interests they represent, what proposals were expressed, and in what way they have been considered.
11. If the proposal expressed by the lobbyist is considered when drafting or taking a decision, this shall be indicated in the document related to such decision (e.g., in the summary, statement, cover letter) and, where possible, it shall be made publicly available.
IV. Actions Outside of the Performance of Professional Duties or Duties of Office
12. Actions unrelated to the professional duties or duties of office (e.g., additional work, studies, membership in an association) shall be performed by the employee in a way that does not prevent the performance of the professional duties or duties of office.
13. Outside of the performance of professional duties or duties of office the employee shall act in a way not to undermine the reputation of and trust in State administration.
14. The employee, also acting as a private individual, shall behave with integrity, ensuring conformity with the requirements laid down in laws and other laws and regulations.
15. The employee shall not refer to his or her position or place of work to pursue his or her interests in situations unrelated to the performance of professional duties or duties of office and thereby draw any benefit from it.
16. When expressing his or her opinion outside of the performance of professional duties or duties of office, including on social media, the employee shall endeavour to provide verified information regarding State administration and to express himself or herself respectfully, raising awareness regarding the role and work of State administration.
V. Introduction of Values and Fundamental Principles of Ethics
17. The task of the institution is to promote the formation of a fair and open internal environment. The institution shall promote the awareness of the employees regarding the values of State administration and ethical requirements binding upon them, as well as appropriate behaviour.
18. One or several trusted persons in ethical issues shall be elected or appointed at the institution or department. An ethics commission may be established at the institution or department which may include several trusted persons in ethical issues in its composition.
19. If the employee has doubts regarding the conformity of the intended action with this Recommendation or other ethical requirements binding upon him or her, he or she may consult a higher official, trusted person in ethical matters, or ethics commission.
20. If there are grounds for the employee or a member of the public to believe that the actions of a certain employee do not conform to this Recommendation, the head of the institution, higher official, trusted person in ethical matters, or ethics commission shall be informed thereof. The conformity of the actions of the employee with this Recommendation may be referred for assessment to the ethics commission of the institution or it may be decided upon initiating disciplinary proceedings.
21. The institution shall ensure that the information regarding the values of State administration and ethical requirements which must be conformed to by the employees are publicly available.
VI. Closing Provision
22. The institution or department, within a year after the coming into force of this Recommendation, shall assess the necessity to update the current code of ethics or other internal laws and regulations or replace with this Recommendation either in whole or in part.
Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis
Minister for Agriculture Jānis Dūklavs
Translation © 2019 Valsts valodas centrs (State Language Centre)