Ethical decision making
Behaving ethically is critical in the public sector. Sometimes employees will need to make tough decisions. Using the REFLECT approach can help in making the right choice.
Step 1: Recognise a potential issue and ask yourself:
- What is my gut feeling?
- Is that a risky situation?
- Does this situation create tensions within the NTPS Principles and Code of Conduct and/or the NTPS Values?
Step 2: Find relevant information by identifying:
- The circumstances of the situation.
- Relevant legislation, policies and guidance.
- Rights and responsibilities of stakeholders.
- Any precedent that has been set.
Step 3: Liaise and consult with:
- Supervisors and managers
- Respected colleagues and peers (remember privacy).
Step 4: Evaluate the options:
- Identify consequences and risks.
- Look at the processes.
- Would the decision stand up to public scrutiny – How would it look as a front page headline?
- Would you be able to explain the reasons for your decision?
Step 5: Come to a decision, act on it and make a record.
Step 6: Take time to reflect and review:
- How did it turn out for all concerned?
- Learn from your decisions.
- If you had to do it again, what would you do differently?
From the Northern Territory Public Sector Values Manager’s Toolkit. Office of the Commissioner of Public Employment – 2014.