Accountability in the public officesIntroductionIn many years in the public administration, the concern has been how to ensure that the public servants are adhering to the laid down rules and procedures when serving the general public. Setting public service standards for all civil servants is the major theme of public administration in the 21st century. According to Sakr Ashour (2004), a consensus worldwide has been developed to make sure that all governments recognize the importance of reforming the public sectors in order to enhance the public service ethics, integrity and transparency s well as accountability and professionalism in executing the government functions.
This is particularly to make sure that delivery of services to the general public is not compromised by the actions of view individuals who out to serve personal interests. Reforming the public sectors and all the institutions that are involved is very critical in making sure that public resources which are scarce are economically spent for the national good (Scott 1990). It is through proper use of available resources that the government can enhance public sector performance and at the same time strengthen its responsibility promoting development of the key sectors of the economy through the provision of public services.
While serving at the public administration it is the responsibility of each and every person to follow the work ethics which are entangled in accountability, transparency and integrity as well as professionalism. According to the research report by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA 2001), on ten African countries found out that good governance and good management of public resources is very critical in realizing sustainable development.
Unethical and unjust practices in the public sector were found to be major cause of underdevelopment in several countries more especially in Africa. It is because of these grounds that there is need to have a system in place that could be used to check on the operations of the public offices has been stimulated. The primary agenda for putting these systems in place is to make sure transparency and accountability is enhanced in the public service. The objective of this essay is to critically asses how accountability, audits and performance-based indicators have affected the ethic of public service and professionalism and it these structures are necessary in maximizing efficiency and cost effectiveness. EthicsEthics in the public offices require that every officer serving in the public offers does what is expected of them by the community.
In other words one has to demonstrate high level of integrity by the right thing which is not meant to hurt the public in one way or the other. Ethics is a universally accepted concept not only in public offices but also in the private sector.
Ethics has got a very long history (Wanna et l 1999). This is to mean that ethics has existed alongside mankind. It explains how individuals’ behaviors demonstrate high level of morals and character in their behaviors. Ethics in detail deals extensively deals with issues such as good, bad, right and wrong. These are the characteristics that must be demonstrated in every individual. According to Hanekom (1984), ethics in public offices is used to evaluate and determine whether one’s conduct exhibit positive and negative values.
This view is shared by Chapman (1993) who states that ethics is a set of principles that are used to determine the right actions and the rules that govern one’s conduct. The criteria for determining what is right can be put down in writing, legislation, circulars and standing orders or even through a mere interpretation by a person, organization or institution of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. This is what has been transcended into the public sector of many of the world countries as a strategy of ascertain the conducts of public officers and how they apply their mandate to execute their duties.
In the public sector, the Charter for the Public Service is used to refer to the standards that have been set to provide a guideline on how individuals should behave and act while discharging government functions (Goldberg & Cole 2002). The charter describes ethics as sound practice which is founded on good moral values and principles. The moral values and principles in the private sector include: efficiency, high level of professional discipline, integrity, fairness, justice and equity while discharging government functions.
In this regard therefore, public service ethics refer to a wide range of practices that all public servants either working as state agents or members of a particular profession like accounting, procurement, law, health, education, and human resource should observe while discharging their official functions.