Essential values for civil servants
What are the essential values, that a civil servant should possess. Explain?
- Introduction: What are values/ or importance of values
- What are the essential values civil servant should possess- You can use committees recommendations or views
- Dedication to public service
- Conclusion: How the above can achieve good governance
Civil service values
Civil servants should have a minimum set of standards on which they evaluate things. Value can be used to judge things. Values can be goal oriented i.e. social, political and economic justice and means oriented i.e. empathy, integrity, discipline, impartiality etc. Since civil servants have discretionary powers the values are important to give them certain guidance to prevent abuse of power.
As per the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, the foundational values of the service are:
- Dedication to public service
- Compassion towards weaker sections.
Moral soundness is integrity. An individual with integrity shall not do things that don't agree with his values. Honest person shall not cheat or defraud but shall be truthful in his actions. Probity denotes financial prudence i.e. no corruption. A person with integrity shall not indulge in any action that violates his values but a honest officer shall follow orders faithfully whatever they are.
Value system should be consistent otherwise we believe in one thing but do another. Value system has to be consistent.
The integrity is of following types:
- Intellectual integrity: Evaluating everyone with the same parameters.
- Professional integrity: Enforced by the professional bodies.
- Organizational integrity: Belief of the organization.
Integrity can be inculcated through training, institutional structure and by setting up a code of ethics that all members shall follow. Violations of ethics shall be monitored and published to create peer pressure or social pressure. Integrity testing is done by randomly identifying officers and trying to bribe them. This doesn't have penal provisions but creates more fear amongst officers.
Taking decisions based on prescribed rules and policy and not values and emotions.
Objectivity can be inculcated by training, right to be heard, reviewing decisions, transparency, information management systems for collection of data and statistics for making decisions.
Compassion is a form of sympathy but stronger and so a better predictor of actions. Compassion for poor made saints serve them. Sympathy is when you share the feelings of others. Empathy is a stronger predictor of behavior as when you feel empathy towards others you feel their emotions. It can be for anyone but compassion is directed towards the poor.
The colonial era saw very intelligent officers entering the civil service but they lacked the empathy towards Indians and focused only on maintaining the British rule over India. Bureaucracy must be taught to empathize with the common man this shall trigger his altruistic behavior. However to make him feel empathy his emotional intelligence should be developed first.
Empathy is the base of compassion. Compassion is needed in a divided society like India.
Neutrality, Anonymity and Integrity:
Executive is of two types the political executive i.e. PM and Council of Ministers and the permanent executive i.e. civil service. Political executive derives power from the people as they are elected. They are responsible to the people and decide policy with the help of the permanent executive. The permanent executive is responsible to the political executive and is subordinate to it. The implementation of policies and help in framing policies is done by the permanent executive.
Neutrality: Remain neutral in political ambitions. Serve all regimes faithfully. This is needed to ensure that political parties have faith in the service otherwise it shall affect policy making. A neutral service means political sterilization and can serve the ruling party with full dedication even if policies are against his personal interests. Passive neutrality means that the officers shall work without considering implications like violation of constitution. Active neutrality shall mean that officer shall follow orders but not violate statutes.
However neutrality is under threat as careerism is growing and civil service aligns itself with the ruling party. Mass transfers of officers is common after the regime changes. The inter cadre rivalry also plays a role. A neutral service means no response towards social schemes and this affects planning and implementation. The ivory tower approach of the bureaucracy has been criticised.
Impartiality: Act without bias of client nature.
Anonymity: Should work behind the scenes without expectation of praise. Permanent executive should be shielded by the political executive. The power to reprimand the bureaucracy should lie with the political executive but this should be protected from arbitrariness.
Apart from these optimism, creativity, responsiveness, courage, efficiency and effectiveness are expected under the New Public Management system that treats public as customers demanding better service for their taxes.