In 1994, the UK government established a Committee on Standards in Public Life. Their remit was to make recommendations to improve standards of behaviour in public life. The committee was chaired by Lord Nolan, and the first report of the committee established the seven principles of public life, also known as the “Nolan principles”.
Anyone who is elected to a role or represents others should make themselves aware of these standards. They are a benchmark, as a point of self reflection or should be a standard part of the induction or development training, that any board should encourage.
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
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.
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
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.
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.
Holders of public office should be truthful.
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour and treat others with respect. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.