400 likes | 610 Views
ROUNDTABLE ON THE PROMOTION OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE . MANAGING THE PRIVATE SECTOR PERSPECTIVE: THE INTERFACE BETWEEN PUBLIC SECTOR AND PRIVATE SECTOR CORRUPTION PRESENTER: MR JOHN MENTOOR DATE: 25 – 27 NOVEMBER 2009 VENUE: PREMIER HOTEL, PRETORIA.
E N D
ROUNDTABLE ON THE PROMOTION OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE MANAGING THE PRIVATE SECTOR PERSPECTIVE: THE INTERFACE BETWEEN PUBLIC SECTOR AND PRIVATE SECTOR CORRUPTION PRESENTER: MR JOHN MENTOOR DATE: 25 – 27 NOVEMBER 2009 VENUE: PREMIER HOTEL, PRETORIA
OUTLINE OF THE PRESENTATION • BACKGROUND • PURPOSE OF THE PSC STUDIES • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY • UNDERSTANDING CONFLICTS OF INTEREST • TYPES OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST • KEY CONSIDERATIONS • RECOMMENDATIONS • RECENT ASSESSMENT BY THE PSC • OVERVIEW ON THE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE FRAMEWORK • SUBMISSION OF THE DISCLOSURE FORMS • REPEAT OFFENDERS • SCRUTINY OF THE DISCLOSURE FORMS • IDENTIFICATION OF POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST • RECOMMENDATIONS • CURRENT INITIATIVES
BACKGROUND • South Africa has prioritised a comprehensive ethics and legislative infrastructure to meet the demands for an accountable and transparent government. (Code of Conduct, Financial Disclosure Framework, The Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and The Promotion to Access of Information Act.) • There is a need to maintain this co-ordinated and sustained response to promoting integrity. • Given the current climate, and the evolutionary process in building an ethics infrastructure the PSC is of the view that the time is right to move towards a structured approach to the management of conflicts of interest. • The PSC has done extensive research into the management of conflicts of interest which has culminated into three reports i.e.: • Report on the Management of Conflicts of Interest in the Public Service, 2006 • Report on the Management of Conflicts of Interest through Financial Disclosures, 2007 • Overview of the Implementation of the Financial Disclosure Framework: Financial year 2007/2008.
PURPOSE OF THE PSC STUDIES • The studies of the PSC originate from the need to develop a system or framework to manage conflicts of interest in the South African Public Service. • It must be remembered that public officials are also private individuals. There will be occasions when a public official’s own private interest may come into conflict with his/her public duty which is to put the public interest first. • Essentially, a conflict of interest system promotes the perception of integrity in government by preventing conflicts of interest before they occur. It also brings a new dimension in the fight against corruption as it can be premised on protecting officials against corrupt practices. • Most public servants in South Africa are honest. Despite this our anti-corruption strategies have given little focus to the protection of honest public servants. Therefore, there is a need to put in place a system that keeps our honest public servants honest. • By recommending a policy or framework for the management of conflicts of interest the PSC not only seeks to promote the idea of integrity in government but also to promote the honest public servant.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY • In its first study, on the Management of Conflicts of Interest in the Public Service, a comparative study was undertaken of countries that have conflicts of interest systems in place or that are experienced in dealing with conflicts of interest. Countries included Canada, Germany and Australia. • A study tour was conducted to Germany and Canada by officials of the Office of the Public Service Commission. A desk top study was undertaken of the Australian System. • A comprehensive literature review was made of the conflicts of interest systems of the countries as indicated above. This literature review consisted of internet search for good practice documents and library searches in South Africa as well as a desk study. • Canada has an advanced conflict of interest system which has been in place for over thirty years. Germany uses an integrated system of rules and regulations to manage conflicts of interest. In Australia conflicts of interest is managed on a decentralized, departmental basis.
UNDERSTANDING CONFLICTS OF INTEREST • Conflicts of interest can be defined as “a conflict between the public duties and private interests of a public official, in which the public official has private-capacity interests which could improperly influence the performance of his/her official duties and responsibilities” (OECD Guidelines: 2003:24). • This infers that a conflict of interest arises when public officials have to make decisions at work that may affect their private interests. • While conflicts traditionally focused on nepotism, gifts and hospitality in recent years they are more directed on: • a public official having private business interests in the form of partnerships, shareholdings, board membership, investments and government contracts; • a public official leaving to work in a private company or a Chief Executive Officer taking up a key position in a government department with a commercial relationship with his/her former company; and • a public official having affiliations with other organizations (e.g. an official sits on the board of a non-profit organization that receives funding from the official’s department). • The key question about conflicts of interest is whether a public official is in a situation where his/her private interests might improperly influence the way he/she does his/her job .
TYPES OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST • Conflicts of interest are broadly divided into 3 categories, namely- • Perceived - A public official is in a position to appear to be influenced by his/her private interests when doing his/her job. For example - The wife of a senior manager is the owner of a stationary company who is a service provider for the government. • Potential - A public official is in a position where he/she may be influenced in the future by his/her private interests when doing his/her job. For example – The same senior manager is a standing member of the tender committee of the department which may consider a tender from the stationary company of his wife. • Actual - A public official is in a position to be influenced by his/her private interests when doing his/her job. For example – The senior manager is part of the decision to award the tender 7
KEY CONSIDERATION: FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES THAT UNDERLIE A CONFLICTS OF INTEREST SYSTEM • An effective conflict of interest system must be based on sound fundamental principles which talks to what a system should do and should not do. These are the fundamental principles that underlie an effective conflict of interest system namely: • The system / policy should promote both the reality and the perception of integrity in government • The focus should be on prevention, not punishment • The honesty of the majority of public officials must be recognised • Morality should not be regulated • Government money should be saved • Ensure that the public have an interest in the system • The system/ policy must be tailored to the particular nation, society, and culture • It undergirds the essential values of the nation
KEY CONSIDERATION: THE IMPORTANCE OF CODES OF CONDUCT AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES • Basically an effective conflicts of interest framework rests upon three pillars. This includes a disclosure framework and a comprehensive Code of Conduct, which had been implemented in the public service. The next or the third evolutionary phase is a structured approach to a conflicts of interest system i.e. a framework to manage conflicts of interest. • Codes of Conduct set out essential values usually replicated from the values of the society. They serve as a guideline to employees as to what is expected of them from an ethical point of view. • A Financial Disclosure Framework, on the other hand, enhances public confidence in the integrity of public officials and minimizes the possibility of conflicts arising between the private interests and public duties of public officials. • The South African public service is in the advantageous position of having two pillars already in place. While there are definitely areas that need to be strengthened, the South African Public Service can now move towards a structured approach to manage conflicts of interest. Improvements to the Code of Conduct and the Financial Disclosure Framework can proceed alongside the development of the structured approach to manage conflicts of interest.
KEY CONSIDERATION: SIGNIFICANCE OF COOLING-OFF PERIODS • As one witnesses the increased movement between the public sector and private sector, moves are made to guard against certain conduct. • In the private sector, what you essentially see are constraints of trade whereas in the public service more and more reference is made to “cooling off” periods and post employment activities. • Essentially, the latter clauses guard against former employees taking employment with an organization with which a public office holder or public servant had direct or significant dealings during his / her last year in office. • Given South Africa’s past history, “cooling-off” periods may be a much more complex issue. For example: A person who has been in exile throughout most of his/her life is appointed as a Director-General: Aerospace. Because of his/her period in exile he/she hardly has any work experience except that which he/she stood to gain by his/her appointment in the Department. When he/she leaves office after ten years the challenge in terms of “cooling-off” periods is how to prevent such a person from obtaining work in a related field and not using that position to do business with the same Dept of Aerospace for at least a year. • The need for cooling of periods must be balanced with the legitimate need for economic freedom and activity. • It may be beneficial to put in place policies that stress cooling-off periods but if not enforced, cooling-off periods may become irrelevant once the person has left the employment of the public service. • A difficulty in enforcing cooling of periods is how and by whom compliance is monitored.
KEY CONSIDERATION: SIGNIFICANCE OF COOLING-OFF PERIODS - CONTND • In an attempt to address post employment conflicts of interest the PSC proposes a conflicts of interest policy which provides for the following – • A public servant shall disclose all firm offers of outside employment that could place him/her in a position of conflict of interest. • A public official who accepts an offer of outside employment shall immediately disclose this in writing and where engaged in significant official dealings with the future employer, the public official shall be assigned to other duties as soon as possible. • A department shall not enter into contracts with a company that has employed any of its former officials for a period of a year after the relevant official left the employment of the department in a position that would involve the former official participating in the work that is required to render the service to the department. • A former public servant shall not within a period of one year after leaving office accept employment with an entity with which he/she had direct and significant official dealings during the period of one year immediately prior to his/her termination of service in public office if such entity is still in business with his/her former department. 11
KEY CONSIDERATION: REMUNERATED WORK OUTSIDE OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE • Generally speaking public services around the world allow for the undertaking of remunerative work outside of the public service. In the case of South Africa the situation is not much different. The Code of Conduct states that: “an employee does not, without approval, undertake remunerative work outside his/her official duties or use office equipment for such work.” • Recent studies by the PSC and the Auditor-General indicate that officials do not always obtain approval before commencing such work. To strengthen this area, public servants should be made aware of their legal obligation to obtain approval before performing outside remunerative work. • The challenges could be addressed by incorporating outside remunerative work in a policy on the managing of conflicts of interest as is suggested in the PSC report. The detailed policy, amongst others proposes that- • No public servant may perform or engage himself or herself to perform remunerative work outside his or her employment in the public service, without permission granted by the relevant executing authority or an officer authorised by the said authority. • A public servant may not use government letterheads, personnel, equipment, supplies, or other resources for a non-governmental purpose nor may a public servant do personal or private activities during times when he/she is required to do work for the government. • A public servant may not have any business or financial dealings with a subordinate or superior. • A public servant may not be a lawyer or expert against the government’s interest in any lawsuit. • A public servant may not have a job with anyone that does business with his/her department. 12
KEY CONSIDERATION: ACCEPTANCE OF GIFTS • Most western public services have a total ban on gifts and gratuities except in exceptional cases. • There is a persistent argument that the issue of gifts from an Afro-centric perspective has grey areas. Because of diverse cultures and communities such as in South Africa the acceptance and non-acceptance of gifts is not always very clear. In most cultures it is deemed inappropriate not to accept a gift. • Measures have been put in place to regulate gifts. For example, the Code of Conduct stresses that a public official should not use his/her position to obtain private gifts or benefits. The challenge with the Code is that it does give rise to interpretational problems and guidelines on the acceptance/non-acceptance of gifts could clarify the grey areas. • Guidelines on the acceptance/non-acceptance of gifts could clarify the grey areas.
KEY CONSIDERATION: ACCEPTANCE OF GIFTS - CONTD • Therefore the detailed policy on the management of conflicts of interest as proposed by the PSC provides, amongst others, that- • A gift must be declared to the Executing Authority within 30 days after receipt. • Gifts, hospitality or other benefits that could influence an official in his/her judgment and in the performance of official duties must be declined. • Where there is doubt as to the appropriateness of accepting a gift, hospitality or other benefit, irrespective of its value, an official must consult with his/her Executing Authority and obtain the latter’s approval to accept such offer. • All Heads of Department must keep a register of all gifts, hospitality or benefits received by officials and the department during each financial year. This gift register must be submitted to the Public Service Commission by the end of April of each year for the preceding financial year. 14
KEY CONSIDERATION: LOCATION FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST The perception of integrity in government is strengthened through the involvement of an independent institution in the management of conflicts of interest. An independent institution could also fulfill the obligation of monitoring and evaluating the application of conflicts of interest policies. In South Africa the PSC is already administering the Financial Disclosure Framework for senior managers as well as monitoring the implementation of the Code of Conduct for all public servants. It is recommended that the PSC continue to fulfill this role. In terms of section 11 of the Public Service Commission Act, 1997, the PSC may make rules in relation to its functions contained in the Constitution (which includes the promotion of a high standard of professional ethics in the Public Service). The management of conflicts of interest is an intrinsic part of the promotion of professional ethics and as such the PSC may make rules to manage conflicts of interest and therefore strengthen it role in this regard. There is, however, a need to put in place a framework for the management of conflicts of interest which takes into account the whole of the public service and not only senior managers as is currently the case. Therefore the recommendation also proposes that Heads of Department be assigned a role in managing the conflicts of interest of staff below senior management level. 15
KEY CONSIDERATION: LOCATION FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST • The perception of integrity in government is strengthened through the involvement of an independent institution in the management of conflicts of interest. An independent institution could also fulfill the obligation of monitoring and evaluating the application of conflicts of interest policies. • In South Africa the PSC is already administering the Financial Disclosure Framework for senior managers as well as monitoring the implementation of the Code of Conduct for all public servants. It is recommended that the PSC continue to fulfill this role. • In terms of section 11 of the Public Service Commission Act, 1997, the PSC may make rules in relation to its functions contained in the Constitution (which includes the promotion of a high standard of professional ethics in the Public Service). The management of conflicts of interest is an intrinsic part of the promotion of professional ethics and as such the PSC may make rules to manage conflicts of interest and therefore strengthen it role in this regard. • There is, however, a need to put in place a framework for the management of conflicts of interest which takes into account the whole of the public service and not only senior managers as is currently the case. • Therefore the recommendation also proposes that Heads of Department be assigned a role in managing the conflicts of interest of staff below senior management level.
RECOMMENDATIONS • As a first option it is recommended that a stand alone conflicts of interest policy be implemented to manage conflicts of interest (i.e. separate from the Code of Conduct and the Financial Disclosure Framework). Details of the contents of the proposed policy have been discussed during this presentation and are therefore not repeated. • The advantages of adopting a stand alone approach is – • Firstly that one does not need to make changes or adapt the current Code of Conduct or the Financial Disclosure Framework since the conflict of interest policy would be formulated on its own but taking cognizance of the principles in the Code of Conduct and the Financial Disclosure Framework. • Secondly, from an administrative point of view, the management of conflicts of interest would be much easier because one policy with one dimension is managed at one particular time. • Thirdly, a stand-alone approach would mean that all public servants would be aware what is applicable to them and what is not because a clear differentiation, especially with regard to the financial declarations by senior managers would be detectable. 17
RECOMMENDATIONS-CONTD • The second option recommended is the development of a conflicts of interest system. This option recommends a combined approach to managing conflicts of interest in the South African public service. This would entail that the Code of Conduct, the Financial Disclosure Framework and the proposed policy on conflicts of interest be amalgamated to form one conflict of interest system. • The advantage of such an approach is that it deals with every aspect at one time. This would at the very least entail regulatory amendments. Given how far-reaching some issues can be, this could well require legislative amendment. Because of such ramifications a major drawback is that these could pose time delays. Current climate suggests that there is an impatience with putting a conflict of interest policy in place. • Regardless of which of the two options recommended by the PSC (policy vs system) are implemented a structured framework for the management of conflicts is required. • Much of the work of the PSC around the Financial Disclosure Framework has been around administering the framework. What is now required is a closer scrutiny of the disclosures to ensure that there is no conflict of interest. • The PSC must put in place the necessary objective rules for such scrutiny.
RECOMMENDATIONS - CONTD • Not only does this provide clarity on approach but it also reinforces the credibility in the eyes of the public that there is an institution “watching out” for the public interest. As can be seen from international experience, the participation of an independent institution is seen better to promote the perception of integrity in government. • The PSC further recommends that the management of conflicts of interest for officials below SMS be performed on a decentralized basis by Heads of Departments and that the PSC oversees and monitors the application of the conflict of interest policy. • Key considerations for the approach is the size of the public service. By placing the responsibility exclusively on one central institution generates a number of implementation challenges and problems. • Furthermore, it is not envisaged that a similar disclosure framework be developed for officials below the SMS. The emphasis on this level is in relation to potential conflicts of interest. Therefore, to minimize administrative upheaval, the level below the SMS should only disclose those interests that have the potential of a conflict of interests.
RECENT ASSESSMENT BY THE PSC ON THE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE FRAMEWORK • Whilst the PSC has previously reported on its management of the Framework, the PSC deemed it necessary to conduct an overview on the Implementation of the Financial Disclosure Framework for the 2007/2008 financial year. • However, this overview provides a statistical overview on the compliance with the Framework as at the due date of 31 May 2008 and 31 December 2008. • In addition to such a statistical overview, the PSC, through this report, provides an analysis of scrutiny of a sample of the disclosure forms. • The information obtained from the scrutiny of the sample of the disclosure forms, provided an indication as to the extent of the existence of potential or actual conflicts of interest. • The report contains findings and recommendations of the PSC to address the management of conflicts of interest at departmental level. These are as follows:
OVERVIEW ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE FRAMEWORK • The Public Service Commission has since the 1999/2000 financial year been responsible for the management of the Financial Disclosure Framework (FDF) for senior managers • The FDF was initially only applicable to Heads of Department but since 2000/2001 has applied to all senior managers • The objective of the FDF is to manage the potential conflicts that may exist between a senior manager’s private interests and public responsibilities in order to ensure that actual conflicts of interest do not occur • The PSC has since the inception of the Framework placed major focus on ensuring compliance with the submission of financial disclosures which is a regulatory requirement in terms of Chapter 3 of the Public Service Regulations
SUBMISSION OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES TO THE PSC • The rate of compliance has improved since the inception of the FDF as indicated in the following table: • However, the PSC is of the view that only a 100% compliance rate would be acceptable
SUBMISSION OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES TO THE PSC • Certain departments have also consistently not complied with the requirement of submitting the financial disclosures of their senior managers to the PSC. In this regard the National Department of Health has only submitted disclosures twice to the PSC since 2000/2001, whilst the Department of Correctional Services did not submit disclosures for the last two financial years • As indicated the submission of financial disclosures is a regulatory requirement. The extent of non-compliance by senior managers and departments is unacceptable and does not bode well for integrity in the Public Service • The responsibility of ensuring that disclosures are submitted to the PSC ultimately rests with Executive Authorities (EAs)
SUBMISSION OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES TO THE PSC • Since the implementation of the FDF the PSC has consistently reminded EAs to submit the outstanding financial disclosures of senior managers and advised them to institute disciplinary measures against defaulting senior managers • Reminders were also on several occasions forwarded to EAs by the Minister for Public Service and Administration at the request of the PSC • Despite such reminders a 100% compliance rate has not yet been achieved and there has been no evidence of senior managers being charged with misconduct for failing to comply with the FDF • By the due date of 31 May 2008 the disclosure forms of 48% SMS members i.e. 38% from national departments and 59% from provincial departments were received. This is reflected in the following Table:
SUBMISSION OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES TO THE PSC • Of the thirty-seven (37) national departments, twenty (20) submitted disclosure forms by the due date. This is a significant increase from the previous financial year (2006/2007) when the forms of only eight (8) national departments were received by the due date • Of concern is that financial disclosure forms from departments that are involved in big programmes and tenders due to the nature of their work, such as Public Works and Trade and Industry are not received timeously • This impedes the PSC’s ability to scrutinize their disclosures in order to monitor conflicts of interest. Given the large tenders awarded by departments such as Public Works and Trade and Industry there is a definite risk for potential corrupt practices
REPEAT OFFENDERS • The PSC has noted that a number of senior managers across the Public Service continuously are in default with the provisions of the Framework • In order to identify and report on the repeat offenders a comparative analysis of disclosures received for the 2006/2007 financial year against disclosures received for the 2007/2008 financial year was conducted. From this analysis, it has been determined that there are 249 senior managers who could be identified as repeat offenders in that they failed to submit their disclosure forms for two successive financial years • Only two provinces i.e. the North West and Northern Cape Provinces have no identified repeat offenders. The following Table provides figures of the number of repeat offenders identified at national and provincial levels
SCRUTINY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES • Apart from compliance monitoring the PSC has shifted its focus to the scrutiny of the financial disclosure forms in order to identify potential conflicts of interest • For this purpose the PSC scrutinised the financial disclosures of 30% of all senior managers that submitted their disclosures (2038) • The sample included the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and the Limpopo Provincial departments as well as ten national departments, namely: • Agriculture • Communications • Public Service and Administration • Home Affairs • Minerals and Energy
SCRUTINY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES • Public Enterprises • Public Works • Science and Technology • Social Development • Transport • In scrutinising the disclosures of the sample of senior managers, the PSC assessed whether the private interests declared by senior managers could pose a potential conflict with their official responsibilities. This was done by assessing whether- • there is a link between the official duties of a senior manager and the business activities of a company or consultancy in which the senior manager holds a Directorship or Partnership; • a senior manager is involved in three or more companies, in which instance he or she would not, in all probability, have the time to devote his/her full attention to his/her official responsibilities; and
SCRUTINY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES • two or more officials from the same department are involved in the same company or companies as such officials could make decisions on the awarding of contracts that favour one another • The PSC was also concerned that those senior managers that submitted their financial disclosures may not have disclosed all their registrable financial interests • In order to verify information on the financial disclosures, the PSC therefore obtained information on the Directorships and Partnerships held by the senior managers from the CIPRO data-base and on properties owned by them from the Deeds Register
IDENTIFICATION OF POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST • The following figure reflects the number of potential conflicts of interest identified per department and province based on the PSC’s assessment of the sample
IDENTIFICATION OF POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST • As indicated in the previous figure, out of the 2038 financial disclosure forms scrutinized, the PSC identified 434 senior managers that may have potential conflicts of interest between their private interests and their official duties. This total represents 21% of all senior managers that formed part of the sample • The highest number of potential conflicts of interest at provincial level were identified in the Limpopo Province (121) whilst the highest number in a National Department was identified at Social Development (20) • The fact that 21% of all senior managers that formed part of the sample may experience potential conflicts of interest illustrates the importance of a system such as the Financial Disclosure Framework as a mechanism to prevent corruption. Through the identification of the potential conflicts of interest departments are able to manage the risks associated with the conflicts of interest, and ensure that it does not become an actual conflict of interest
IDENTIFICATION OF POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST • The total of 434 senior managers that may have potential conflicts of interest included 341 senior managers that have directorships in companies that are related to their official responsibilities and 3 senior managers that share the same interests in companies
IDENTIFICATION OF POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST • If these managers form part of the supply chain management process or are in a position to influence the process, they could have actual conflicts of interest between their private interests and their public responsibilities • The PSC also found that two hundred-and-ten (210) SMS members within the sample, did not disclose their interests in some companies or closed corporations. The non-disclosure of these interests by managers is in contravention of the Public Service Regulations, and such managers should be charged with misconduct • The PSC’s scrutiny of the disclosure forms found that in many cases the companies that were not disclosed by the SMS members, actually pose a potential conflict of interest. Of the 210 senior managers that did not disclose their interests in companies and close corporations, 78 (35%) may have a potential conflict of interest
RECOMMENDATIONS The PSC recommended that: • Executive Authorities charge transgressing Heads of Department with misconduct and ensure that other members of the SMS are charged with misconduct for failing to disclose an interest by instructing their Heads of Department to do so in terms of the Disciplinary Code and Procedures, as contained in the SMS Handbook. Instances where senior managers have been charged with misconduct must be reported to the PSC • Executive Authorities should assign the duty to manage the financial disclosure process and ensure that the forms are submitted timely to dedicated units within a department or dedicated staff members. Such staff members may liaise with officials of the PSC to ensure the effective management of the Framework
RECOMMENDATIONS • Members of the SMS be made aware of the fact that they need to disclose all companies, including dormant and non-profit making companies. Companies for which senior managers are performing work but are not receiving remuneration must also be declared. Instances where such managers have been charged with misconduct must also be reported to the PSC • Executive Authorities should obtain the outstanding forms of the repeat offenders and submit them to the PSC as soon as possible. This will enable the PSC to scrutinize the forms to establish if there was deliberate non-disclosure or actual conflicts of interest. In the case of potential conflicts of interest, these can be managed appropriately • Given their Legislative and Parliamentary oversight role, Portfolio Committees should call departments and Executive Authorities to account where there has been non-compliance as well as low levels of compliance
INITIATIVES TO IMPROVE THE MANAGEMENT OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST • The PSC has developed an appreciation for the importance of managing potential conflicts of interest and during 2007 completed a study on the management of conflicts of interest in the Public Service • Emanating from this study the PSC recommended that a comprehensive framework for the management of conflicts of interest should be implemented in the Public Service • As part of the recommendations the PSC proposed a conflicts of interest policy for the Public Service that would extend financial disclosures to categories of staff below the senior management service • The PSC’s recommendations have been taken up by the Department of Public Service and Administration and a draft conflicts of interest policy was recently tabled before Cabinet for consideration • The draft policy includes the declaration of interests by officials that are involved in the supply chain management processes of departments
CONCLUSION • As illustrated through the PSC’s findings, potential conflicts of interest and maladministration in the supply chain management process poses real risks to the Public Service • The PSC has continuously alerted Executive Authorities to the need to manage the potential conflicts of interest of their senior managers • In this regard it is heartening to note that the recommendations of the PSC on a comprehensive policy framework on conflicts of interest has been taken up by the DPSA through proposals submitted to Cabinet