H.E. Hamad bin Nasser Al-Misned, President of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority (ACTA), stated that the code of conduct and integrity of public officials’ charter will come into effect soon, after the Cabinet issued Resolution No. 18 of 2020 to issue a charter of conduct and integrity of public officials, which ACTA is in charge of preparing in the framework of completing the system required for state institutions to carry out their duties efficiently and capably, in order to increase transparency and integrity in the state and enhance trust in public office as well as to provide more protection to public money.
H.E. added that the provisions of the Code of Conduct and Integrity of Public Officials will be applicable to all civil employees working at ministries and other government agencies and public bodies and institutions.
Al-Misned affirmed that the Charter of Integrity of Public Officials comes to achieve the highest indicators of transparency and integrity in the state and to provide more protection to public money. Where he explains that the preparation of the Charter of Integrity of Public Officials is considered one of the ACTA’s competencies, under Item 5 of Article 5 of the Amiri Resolution No. 6 of 2015, in the reorganization of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority, which states “achieving the highest indicators of integrity and transparency in the field of public office, working to fight corruption in all its forms and manifestations, and in order to achieve the following in particular,” proposing the means and procedures to enhance integrity and transparency in the management of state property , proposing clear criteria for transparency in the tenders and auctions procedures, and preparing a charter for the integrity of public officials, contractors and suppliers.
Al-Misned further clarified that the charter also comes within the framework of commitment to the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), particularly what was stated in Article (8) on codes of conduct for public officials, and the State of Qatar ratified the agreement in accordance with Decree No. 17 of 2007.
He pointed out Qatar’s achievements in enhancing integrity, transparency and anti-corruption are attested to by the relevant international indicators, noting that ACTA is constantly working to enhance and maintain this international distinction.
ACTA will work during the coming period to launch an awareness-raising action plan to spread the charter within the authority, exchange experiences with all government ministries and institutions, educate government employees on the importance of the charter, the need for the employee to adhere to the provisions of the charter, the legal penalties in the event that the employee violates the charter, and the behavioral standards that the public employee must perform through his work.
Made up of 19 articles, the Charter states that the authorities that are subject to its provisions must circulate it to their employees and ensure that they are familiarized with it and its provisions. It is also permissible, with the approval of the Cabinet, for any of the authorities to which the provisions of this Charter apply, to issue functional charters or standards of conduct for certain groups of its employees, only if the nature of their work requires it and in a manner that does not conflict with the provisions of this Charter.
The charter aims to enhance the values of integrity and transparency with regard to the public office, establish behavioral and ethical standards, basic rules and principles for public office ethics, and build professional values and culture based on honesty and loyalty. Also, establish and enhance respect, cooperation, and mutual trust between the public employee and his superiors, subordinates and colleagues at work, and with the recipient of the service, as well as enhancing the confidence of the recipient in the work of the agencies that provide them, introducing members of society to the desired functional behavior and the behavior expected from the public official.
Furthermore, the charter is based on several principles, the most prominent of which are: respecting the constitution, laws, systems, regulations and instructions for the public office. Also, the employee provides a national service where the public interest is the main motivator for him in his job behavior, performance of his job duties, and the best use of public funds and property in a manner that preserves and prevents wasting it or misusing it, investing energies and knowledge and exerting utmost efforts to achieve outstanding performance.
The charter adopts the values of honesty, truth, seriousness and exerting the utmost energies and efforts in the performance of office duties, making the employee trustworthy of his superiors, subordinates, colleagues and service recipients. Also, providing the employee with objectivity in making decisions and providing recommendations and proposals, impartiality and providing public service to all without discrimination, leadership and work to promote good work values, improving the quality of public services provided by the agency, and integrity and impartiality of any special purposes when performing the tasks entrusted to the public employee. This is in order to achieve the public interest of the state, justice and equality through commitment to provide equal and stimulating opportunities for subordinate performance, and transparency and availability of information according to procedures applicable within the agency for public officials and service recipients.
In addition, Chapter III of the Charter included how to perform job competencies and the employee’s keenness to become familiar with the relevant laws and regulations in force and apply them without any transgression, violation or negligence. Also, devote work time to carrying out his job duties and tasks, observe the rules of occupational safety and health, refrain from any behaviors and practices that violate ethics and righteous behavior, the constant quest to improve his performance and develop his professional capabilities, and to not to abuse his job to serve personal goals and interests.
Additionally, Article 8 of the Charter included ways to preserve public funds and property by observing the employee, preserving the interests and rights of the state and not neglecting them under any justification, informing the immediate superior of the public employee of any situation that represents an assault on those interests and rights, and preserving the integrity of the funds of the agency he works for with the optimal use.
The charter also contained the criteria for the employee to maintain the official information and documents he accesses by virtue of his job or work, as well as avoiding and addressing conflicts of interest and disclosure to his work about cases that may lead to conflicts of interest when he occupies the position, and the charter also guarantees the way the employee deals with gifts and other advantages.
The charter also contained criteria for the relationship between the employee and his superiors, as well as the relationship with co-workers, with subordinates, dealing with service recipients, dealing with information technology and e-mail, dealing with media and social media and not leaking any information in a way that would harm the reputation of the job or authority in which he works for or reveals its secrets.
“Qatar’s National Vision”
The standards revolve around the values of seriousness, truth, honesty, objectivity, impartiality, efficiency, leadership, integrity, fairness, equality and transparency. These values are translated into all areas of the public employee’s work and in all the relationships that link him in the work environment, service recipients and society as a whole. Thus, it covers the performance of job competencies and obligations to preserve public funds and property.
At the national level, this charter is part of the effort to realizing Qatar National Vision 2030, focusing on building an efficient workforce committed to the work ethics and emphasizing the optimal utilization of public resources. The charter is also, based on the permanent constitution of the State of Qatar that states that the public office is a national service, and the public official in the performance of his duties is solely concerned with the public interest.
At the international level, the charter is consistent with the highest international standards in this area, notably the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the International Code of Conduct for Public Officials of the United Nations General Assembly, the codes of conduct and the ethics of the public service of many countries of the world.
The charter aims at promoting the legislative framework of the public function with regard to the identification of the functional behaviors and the enhancement of public service ethics, which will lead to the achievement of the highest indicators of transparency and integrity in the state, promoting confidence in the public service and further protection of public funds.