The Integrity Talks

Integrity manual for Dutch governmental bodies

The Integrity Talks

There is a new integrity manual for Dutch governmental bodies. The manual focuses on how we should deal with important integrity matters, such as conflicts of interest, prohibited actions, secondary positions, and tendering. The Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations has bundled the existing legislation, rules, and other available information in a new integrity manual.

Minister Hanke Bruins Slot gave the first copy to the mayor of Culemborg called Gerdo van Grootheest, chairman of the guidance committee for the book. The manual contains practical steps. Integrity is important for citizens’ confidence in their government.

‘An honest and stable public administration contributes to the legitimacy of government action, and is more effectively and efficiently able to perform tasks fairly, and to provide services to which residents are entitled,’ as stated in the manual. Monitoring and guaranteeing individual integrity is key. The public interest is represented. Personal interests should not prevail by squashing the interests of the whole.

Purity in personal and administrative relationships should be guaranteed. A successful integrity policy also includes the culture within the organization, and in the political arena. The book provides ten recommendations for its design. A systematic approach, tailored to each organization, is sensible, which should be valuated annually. Maintenance is done through dilemma sessions (among other tools).

Besides, the manual looks at recruitment, selection, and screening. There are two tools available for the recruitment phase, namely integrity rules of thumb, and the self-assessment. A political party can also use six tools to pay attention to integrity in the selection procedure, namely the integrity questionnaire, background check, selection interview integrity guideline, statement of consent, mapping out the network, and the list of ‘red flags undermining’. The latter list contains matters that the selection committee can inquire about.

Finally, integrity risk analysis can support screening as well. Rules about gifts, services, and entertainment are often regulated in the local code of conduct and list of integrity standards. Last, insights are given into dealing with integrity violations and investigations. The intention is to keep the integrity handbook up-to-date.

Source: on the back of Binnenlands Bestuur, Wouter Boonstra. The manual can be downloaded via Rijksoverheid.