To what extent do ethical standards influence decision-making by
both the agency and individuals within the agency? An
assessment can help an agency answer this question. There are
Compliance-Analyzes the degree to which one’s
ethics program meets the standards required by law and the
degree to which both the organization’s and individuals’
behavior satisfies legal requirements.
Cultural-Explores how employees and other
stakeholders feel about the organization’s standards and
behavior, including the perceived priorities and ethical
effectiveness of individuals and sub-units of the organization,
as well as the organization as a whole.
Systems-Assesses the degree to which the
ethical principles, guidelines and processes are integrated
within the organizational system.
Every agency should on a periodic basis, perform a compliance
check as part of its minimum due diligence with respect to ethics
laws. Although compliance with ethics laws is a floor-and not a
ceiling-for ethical conduct, it is nonetheless an important for
an agency to assure itself it is meeting minimum legal
requirements for its practices.
Ethics assessments can serve either as reassurance that the
agency’s ethical house is in order or as an early warning of
potential ethical blind spots that, if left un-addressed, could
lead to embarrassment or worse down the road.
1Navran, Frank J., Ethics Audits: You Get What You Pay
For, Ethics Resource Center 1998 (www.ethics.org)
A key question for local agencies is the degree to which ethical
standards influence decision-making by both the agency and
individuals within the agency. The Institute for Local
Government and International City/County Management Association
have developed a tool to assist agencies in answering