Ethics of Officials in the Context of (Slovene) Good Administration
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The author discusses various aspects of ethical conduct, referring to both individual officials and the public administration as a whole, in the sense of good governance. She underlines that the main ethical challenge for officials (seen as executors of public tasks) is to be responsive to the needs of the society in any type of activity falling within the competence of administrative bodies, such as designing new regulations and deciding on specific administrative matters. Considering the significance of public administration for the development of the society, the foundations of ethical conduct of officials are largely defined already in administrative law. The work of the officials is not mechanistic but rather involves the creation of law - although at a purely instrumental level - and is therefore responsible and ethically determined. Officials fulfil their mission as long as they act lawfully within the scope of their powers and comprehend the purpose of law, which is to protect general social benefit and public interest, together with human or legally protected rights and individual interests. Within the limits of their powers and regulations, they are called to solve life issues. Thus, they contribute to democratic and effective administration. The paper provides an analysis of selected aspects, dilemmas and practices arising at the level of individuals and the Slovene administrative system as a whole, at the intersection between work ethics, administrative law and good public administration. In terms of legal principles and ethical codes, Slovenia is considered a rather successful European country; nevertheless, in order to raise general awareness and put the officials’ ethics in practice, a more proactive approach to governance and management is needed.
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