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BC Government can do more to improve ethics management: Auditor General

A new survey suggests the majority of BC’s public servants have not reported any ethics violations in the workplace over the last two years.

According to BC’s Auditor General Carol Bellringer, behavioural reinforcement has been taking place, however with only 72% of government employees claiming they didn’t observe any misconducts, she finds it a little disturbing.

“The most frequent reason they gave was fear of reprisals. This is a troubling finding; we concluded that with improved coordination and oversight, government can improve its ethics management practices and be more accountable for the results of its efforts.”

Of the 28% that saw misconduct in the legislature, two-thirds reported them to their superiors.

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In addition, 62% of the survey shows workplace superiors are modelling good, appropriate behaviour, which led to 59% of that number to claim they’ve received proper training within the last two years.

Bellringer suggests, however, the public sector needs to learn how to properly manage their ethics code.

“We hope that all boarder public sector organizations can use the survey results as well as the findings and recommendations in this report to continue identifying and implementing strategies that will effectively foster a strong culture of ethics.”

While she believes and encourages working towards a safe work environment, it appears good ethics are outweighing the bad ones.

“All employees must take the oath of employment when they’re hired, they must also promise to be loyal, give service to the government of the day, and faithfully abide by the standards of conduct for public service employees.”

Bellringer says all of these requirements have been met by government employees.

The survey reached to more than 25,000 public servants in all BC Ministries and central agencies; only 12,000 responded.

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