Democracy depends fundamentally on public trust. Without broad confidence of the public in the integrity of those they elect to represent them, and of those employed to deliver services to them, democratic institutions will falter. Market economies cannot flourish if defective governance undermines fair competition. Power cannot be devolved effectively to local governments if those receiving it are self-serving.
Ultimately, democracy will fail in societies that do not maintain reasonable standards of ethical behaviour at all levels of public life; the result will be that people become disempowered and poorer. Democracies across Europe are increasingly aware that standards of ethical behaviour must be actively nurtured.
To help do so, the Council of Europe’s Centre of Expertise for Good Governance has developed tools that helps local authorities to assess, ensure and improve public ethics where appropriate.
- public ethics in the context of Good Governance
- the CoE toolkit on Public Ethics Benchmarking and Corruption risk assessment
- new CoE guidelines on public ethics
- new CoE management guide on public ethics