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?