Kelly: new services create ethical risks

The chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Sir Christopher Kelly, has warned in an article written for Civil Service World that new ways of providing services – including academies, clinical commissioning groups, and increasing delivery by the private and voluntary sectors – will place extra pressures on ethics in public service delivery.

By Civil Service World

01 Feb 2013

These forms of service provision “present opportunities for greater efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness to local needs,” he says. “But they also present new challenges and new risks to the standards we expect to apply.”

Many of the people involved in these more innovative types of services, Kelly says, “may not previously have been involved in the delivery of public services,” while those “who do have public service backgrounds may find themselves in very different roles, facing a new set of incentives and constraints.”

Kelly argues that those planning and commissioning new services should “think through how to ensure that high standards of ethical behaviour are built in from the start.”

His comments follow a number of ethical failures among private firms delivering public services, including widespread fraud at DWP contractor A4E and very poor treatment of temporary staff by the Olympics security contractor G4S.

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