Ethics and Professional responsibility
Following are the authority key functions: Improving the integration and delivery of the government services by finding opportunities for it Promoting highest level of integrity and conduct in the department Affirming to the professionalism and accountability of the public sector Generating higher standards of governance and performance Part 1: Relation to various Ethical principles There are mainly five ethical standards on which the Victorian Government Code of Conduct is based and all the performance standards, duties and conduct are measured on the basis of these five following ethical standards: Impartiality 0 Responsiveness 0 Integrity 0 Confidentiality 0 Accountability But, there are other ethical principles through which, the effectiveness of this code of induct can be measured and therefore further improvements can be made based upon the irregularities.
Following are some of the basic ethical principles and their application on the code of conduct: 1) Religious Ethics: This principle refers to the ethical component of the religion that is derived through supernatural revelation. Ethics is not believed to have a direct connection with religion but is meant to be settled through religion. It refers that a right conduct of a person is the key to good life (A. Potter, 2006, up. 78). The Victorian Government code of conduct does not notions religious conduct in a direct way but can be derived using the Responsiveness part in which Servicing the community is one of the parts. This service can be connected to the conduct of professionalism and humanitarian.Although other codes such as integrity in which honesty is included and also impartiality, all are related to good person’s conduct and thus can be connected to religious ethics.
It also contradicts the argument that religion is necessary to live an ethical life by defining code related professionalism and humanitarian conduct without mentioning religion. ) Ethical Formalism: Ethical Formalism can be defined as the ethical theory which gives a logical form to the moral Judgments rather than focusing on the content of the Judgment that would promote a positive fact. It is meant to be an absolute system, which states that “if anything is wrong, it will be wrong everywhere” and vice-versa.
According to the Victorian Government Code of Conduct, there are various codes that point towards Ethical Formalism. A Judgment of Remaining Apolitical by the public sector employees is an ethical formalism in which Ethics and Professional responsibility By ultimately whatever reason it may be. Moreover using Official Information to maintain integrity is another form of ethical formalism as no matter for what purpose is the information is being used, if it is used for purposes outside the official domain, it is unethical. 3) Utilitarianism: Utilitarianism is defined as theory that believes in holding that approach that maximizes the utility. This utility can be understood as maximizing the happiness and reduction in suffering as much as possible.It is a qualitative approach to ethics and sometimes regarded as reductionism approach in which the tat does not matter much if the end result has maximum utility in terms of happiness (L. Barker, 2011, up. 351).
The Code of Conduct is dedicated towards improving the outcomes for the public good, identifying various opportunities to do so and improving the outcomes of services. This is connected to the utilitarian approach as it is dedicated towards increasing the end benefit or utility or happiness and reducing the suffering. Sharing of information among the public officials to deliver better results in a more appropriate and beneficial service outcomes. Thus, engaging efficient and result oriented are the key to utilitarianism. 4) Egoism: Egoism is defined as an ethical theory that supports the morality of self-interest.It states that the self-interest of a person is the driver and motive behind his/her actions that are conscious.
Egoism can be Ethical, Psychological, Rational et cetera but Ethical Egoism is meant to be the most positive in nature. It supports that the moral agents must do the actions that are in the person’s self-interest. Using Powers at Work can be connected to Egoism as it may include a use of power for self-interest n the name of benefiting the others. Self-interest would include using the power for the benefit of friends and family and it may also include the satisfaction gained by using the power to benefit general public. The latter is supported by the code of conduct.Reporting Unethical Behavior to maintain Integrity may also be used to fulfill self-interest but it will also support the code of conduct to refrain the happening of any unwanted situation. Moreover, the Conflict of Interest code declares the public employees to avoid the situation of self-interest or egoism. It strictly defines that any arsenal interest or gain must be kept aside before fulfilling any duty.
5) Ethics of Care: This theory defines the right or wrong nature of any action. It is important to emphasis on the “response to any action” in this theory and is against the universality of the standards as this theory believes that universality leads to indifference.There are many code of conduct that points towards the ethics of care principle (B.
V. Grabber, J. Teacher, 2000, up.
481). Demonstrating Impartiality includes the concept of ethics of care very deeply in which Decisions and Advices even by the public employees to each other and to the general public can be right or wrong according to different perceptions. But it does not has any universal standard.
Accepting Gifts and Benefits is totally dependent on personal discretion. However, there is no standard define for the same and to tell whether the action is right or wrong will differ from person to person. 6) Relativity: Relativity is defined as the absence of any universal standards to perceive any action.Relativity in ethics can be defined as no action can be declared as right or wrong universally and has different meanings according to different persons.
It depends upon the culture, history and nature of any individual. This is termed as Ethical Relativism. Thus, various code of discussed above include all the defined conducts that depends on personal nature. For example, Acting Fairly cannot be defined and universally standardized to be followed by each public employee in a similar manner. It depends on the employee’s nature and perception as to what limit and behavior if defined fair for that person. 7) Universality: Universality is defined as the standardization of anything.With respect o ethics, universality is the ethical conduct that can be standardized with respect to everyone can be considered right or wrong by everyone.
In reality, there are very limited cases where universality can be achieved as every issue has more than one perceptions and thus perfect universality is difficult to achieve (L. Slot, 1999, up. 575). According to code of conduct, there are very limited areas where perfect universality can be achieved but Integrity code involving Other Employment or Criminal offense can be connected to universality in the best way. As these codes of induct can be classified on the basis of certain rules and standards that are ‘almost’ equally Judged by everyone, universality can exist.Moreover, Open to Scrutiny in case of Accountability can also entail sufficient universality as it is defined to offer scrutiny to reconsider any decision and is Just a process and hence standardization is possible. Part 2: Scenario B The incident covered of the Barron Prison in Victoria raises many questions and issues regarding the ethical conduct to be followed by the public employees provided so much of stress is laid on it by the Victorian Government.
Although it is quoted as only the fifth incident of its kind in the last 25 years, but still it does not protects the fact that the ethical standards are not met to the degree they should be.By applying the Victorian Government Code of Conduct and the ethical principles discussed above on this prison incident, we may find multiple abnormalities in terms of breaching of the code of conduct. Following are some of those breaches: First of all, the Integrity of the Job responsibility of the four security officers involved is in question here. Since they were involved in supporting an unethical and illegal behavior and actions inside the prison and instead of weightlessness and dealing to solve the issue, they hid it and supported it by getting involved by smuggling drugs into the prison. Thus breach of Integrity code was done with no second thoughts or considerations.
Hence honesty was breached, hiding information important for the regulation of the prison was covered and unethical behavior was reported. The Responsiveness code of conduct was also breached as the prime responsibility of the security officers were to maintain the discipline and sanctity of the prison and nutrition towards improvement of the system. But instead, they adulterated the system by their unethical and illegal actions.
The accountability code of conduct is also breached as if the security officers are involved in such activity that is much higher in terms of consequences than other corrupt action, they are not fit for any accountable position to serve the government.Due to their neglected accountability, a convict named Carl Williams died as he was involved in a fight inside the prison and the authorities did not noticed it for half an hour. The respect code of conduct as breached since the officers were involved with some of the prisoners and the standards define in the code of conduct related to the demonstration of respect such as giving fair and objective treatment to everyone, improving the outcome and maintaining an environment of equity and diversity. The leadership code was also breached by the head of the prison as he was not able to lead the system properly and was not aware of the situation and the illegal practices happening inside the system.If he was more efficient and regulated the system well, this situation might not have risen in the first place. The egoism and relativity principles are also in question in this issue as this action was relatively not negative for the officers involved and they did not see the consequences and the harmful effects of it and the ethical misconduct they were performing. Moreover, egoism relating to the keeping of information and supporting unethical and illegal activities for self-interest was also practiced by the officers.
Thus, the whole code of conduct was in a way breached by this illegal activity. Conclusion Therefore it can be concluded that the code of conduct outlined by the VictorianGovernment to be followed by the employees in the public sector is an exhaustive set of standards and principles that are required for the development of an efficient and responsible public sector. The strength of the public sector is important for the benefit of the society as a whole as the public sector is the pillar for every other department and provides support as it is under the government regulation. The incident discussed of the prison where some corrupt officers are involved with the prisoners and smuggled drugs depicts a sad picture of the unethical conduct by the public sector employees. It represented a negative image of the irregularities prevailing in the system due to which illegal and unethical practices are being carried out without worrying about the code of conduct and the consequences of its breaching.