A model for ethical decision-making


A model for ethical decision-making

This process could be made into a presentation and be illustrated with an example.

Step 1: Identify and assess the situation

 What do I want to do?

 What are the facts and circumstances of the situation?

 Does it break the rules, the law, or is it inconsistent with government policy?

 Is it consistent with my obligations under the code of conduct?

 Is it consistent with my obligations under my professional code of ethics?

 What ethical principle or principles does it relate to and why? See

Personal values, principles and beliefs and Public Sector Ethics

Act 1994

 Who is affected? Are other people involved?

Step 2: Look at the situation from a public sector standpoint

 What is my duty as a public official?

 What legislation, policies, procedures or guidelines are relevant?

 Who should I consult?

Step 3: Would my actions or decisions withstand public scrutiny?

 Would a reasonable person consider that I was in a position to improperly use my powers or position?

 Would the public perceive my action or decision as honest or impartial?

 Is there a conflict of interest?

Step 4: Identify and consider the options

 Who is the best person in the department to provide me with authoritative advice?

 What are my options and the likely consequences?

 Are these options consistent with the five ethics principles in the Act?

 How would the public view these options?

Step 5: Choose your course of action

 Is my preferred action within my authority?

 Is it fair and can I justify it?

 How will I document my action?

 Who will I involve to check that this is the correct action to take?