Who’s responsible for integrity and accountability?
Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM FIPAA
IPAA’s National President
Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM, IPAA’s National President, was unequivocal in where he believes responsibility lies for integrity and accountability in the public service when he spoke last year.
“Who’s responsible for these things? You are.
It always comes back to what sort of person you want to be, and how you want to do your job professionally.
And doing it with accountability, openness and doing it with integrity is really important.”
Gordon was speaking at an IPAA Western Australia webinar, ‘Integrity and Accountability: A Moving Feast in the 21st Century‘ hosted by Mike Rowe (Director-General, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation; President, IPAA Western Australia). Other panel members included Noelene Duff PSM (Chair of Administrators, City of Casey; Board Members, IPAA Victoria), Michelle Andrews (Director-General, Department of Communities), and Erma Ranieri (Commissioners for Public Sector Employment South Australia; President IPAA South Australia).
Veteran journalist with Business News, Peter Kennedy, facilitated the panel discussion and the question and answer session that followed.
In his opening remarks, Gordon said integrity and accountability in public service mattered.
“Public service is one of our cornerstone institutions supporting and delivering government.
If the public service lacks integrity, if it’s closed, if it’s unresponsive, if it’s unaccountable to the public, we have a really serious problem in our society, and we really do put at jeopardy trust in our public institutions.”
Gordon also expressed his concern that “when it comes to integrity, we’re getting worse, we’re not getting better”.
According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, Australia was ranked 11th out of 180 countries (with a score of 77 out of 100). This compares to Australia’s standing of 7th in the world in 2012 (with a score of 85 out of 100).
“Accountability means having an attitude of openness, explaining what’s going on and what you’re doing and transparency. It’s not obfuscation, half-truths or lies.
Public servants are accountable to the public in general, but specifically to Parliament, to Ministers, to business and the community groups that the public service works with, and with the media.”
Gordon went on to say:
“It’s not just as a public servant… you do your job impartially, professionally, apolitically and according to the law. But it’s that you’re seen to do that job in a fair way as well. That you advise your bosses and your Ministers, that you put your advice in writing, and that you use proper legal protections that may exist under Freedom of Information laws.
I think that one of the key things… is that you always act lawfully, and are seen to act lawfully.”
A video of the full webinar is available from the link below.