A code of conduct provides the basis for ongoing trust in the integrity of the State Services. It also protects staff by setting out clear expectations, so that everyone knows their obligations and what is required of them.
The State Services is collectively responsible for implementing Government policies and providing or administering a wide range of statutory functions and public services. State servants are guardians of what ultimately belongs to the public; the public expects State servants to serve and safeguard its interests.
The New Zealand State Services is regarded as one of the most honest and transparent in the world. 1 Every State servant has a part to play in acting with integrity to maintain New Zealanders’ confidence in the State Services.
Misuse of a position or of powers, or a failure to meet expectations, causes people to lose trust in government. A perceived ‘integrity failure’ in one government agency can impact negatively on the opinion people hold of all the State Services.
1: For example New Zealand is ranked:
- first in the International Budget Partnership Biennial 2012 Open Budget Survey
- first equal out of 182 countries in Transparency International’s 2013 Corruptions Perceptions Index
- fourth out of 77 countries in the 2013 Global Open Data Barometer
- first out of 132 countries on the 2014 Social Progress Index
- third out of 183 economies on the World Bank’s assessment of how governments regulate commerce, and
- in the top 10 in the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index.