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The 7 principles of public life (Nolan Principles)

cllr jon davey clewer and dedworth west rbwm

The 7 principles of public life (Nolan Principles) were published 31st May 1995 and govern the actions of those in public office. Since I’ve just taken up public office as Councillor for Clewer & Dedworth West in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead it made sense to take a look… up until now I have been free to speak as I find and deal with the consequences. In public office my instant reaction needs to be tempered by the 7 principles of public office aka The Nolan Principals.

I have take each principle and written a few words underneath. I don’t think much has to really change. I probably need to breathe & reflect before responding so as to have a more measured response rather than my usual shooting from the hip approach to life.

This doesn’t mean we have to agree but it does mean I’ll not respond to those who come at me with aggression in their tone as it might land me in hot water 😉

1. Selflessness
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.

I’ve been a Rotarian for many years and our motto is “Service above Self”. Talk to anyone who has explored their inner self and we are only truly happy when we are helping others.

2. Integrity
Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.

You give an inch and folk will want to take a mile! And there is no escape once you’ve compromised yourself… we see it in the movies all the time. Why would you put yourself under that unnecessary stress unless you were so arrogant you felt untouchable… my wife would never allow my ego to gain such heights!

3. Objectivity
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.

This is for me the most difficult as we all come with bias, I have 54 years of thoughts and feelings that have shaped me. It is therefore only through dialogue with others that we can understand and therefore re-shape any bias. In person or on social media, these conversations need to be friendly while explorative. If people push, as they tend to on social, my instinct will be to push back but the public servant in me needs to take the higher ground, reflect and respond. That doesn’t mean I will change my opinion, it means I will be more measured in my response. Please excuse me if I take a little time to perfect this 😉

4. Accountability
Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.

If you want to know why I made a decision or did something then ask me by email … if you want me to respond in public, feel free to ask me directly on my Facebook Page and I will share what I am allowed to share.

5. Openness
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.

If you want to know how a project is progressing ask me by email … if you want me to respond in public, feel free to ask me directly on my Facebook Page and I will share what I am allowed to share.

6. Honesty
Holders of public office should be truthful.

The son of a Chief Superintendent and a school secretary / parish councillor I am more likely to be told off by those close to me for being too honest.

7. Leadership
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

Happy to lead the way. You may not always agree with what I have to say or what I do but you can be assured my words and actions come from a good place of intent. I am always open to discussion but I am not open to abuse. If we treat each other respectfully then we can walk away from any discussion with slightly altered views and the knowledge that we’ll happily discuss things again.

I think that reflects my thoughts on this… I will tweak as necessary but let’s make the next 4 years ones to remember for all the right reasons…

Thank you.

Jon Davey
Cllr Clewer & Dedworth West

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