Transparency International

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union


Can you provide best practice in developing codes of ethics for local governments?


1. Key features of codes of conduct for local governments
2. Developing a code of conduct for local government
3. References


Codes of conduct for local officials can greatly contribute to maintaining the highest standards of integrity and sustaining trustworthy and accountable relationships with the community they serve.
Codes of ethics need to be tailored to the needs, context and ethical challenges that public officials face at the local level. While they can greatly vary in terms of style, substance application, format, and level of detail, they typically outline broad fundamental values underlying professional standards, provide concrete guidance on behaviours to avoid and suggest how to behave in sensitive or problematic situations.

The process for developing the code should be clearly defined from the outset to promote a common understanding of the key stages involved. This typically includes a variety of activities such as identifying who should be involved in the development process, drafting the content (by a multi-disciplinary working group representing various functions of the organisation), testing/piloting and approving the code, disseminating the code (training and communication), and monitoring and reviewing the code.

Implementation mechanisms need to be tied to the code and encompass a dynamic process of communicating, interpreting, training, enforcing and assessing the code.


Marie Chêne, Transparency International, [email protected]


Robin Hodess, PhD, Transparency International




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