02 July, 2007

Ethics & Integrity

Professionals. I am really proud of Anguilla’s office professionals. On Thursday 28 June some 40 persons met at the Teachers’ Resource Centre in the Valley. They took part in an all-day seminar. They were office workers from a wide cross-section of the public and private sectors in Anguilla. They were mostly young, with a sprinkling of more experienced office administrators and management. The topic for the seminar was: The Office Professional – The Need for Ethics and Integrity. At the end of the day, participants put together a draft Code of Ethics for themselves and their fellow workers. This is it:


CODE OF ETHICS [1st draft]

Anguillian office professionals will adopt the Golden Rule as the basis of all our dealings with our supervisors, subordinates, colleagues, customers, clients, and the general public. We shall strive at all times in the work place to treat others as we would want to be treated. In pursuance of this goal, we adopt the following principles to guide our conduct:

1. Honesty

We know that it is a fundamental aspect of good character that we be honest in all our dealings. We know that working on building our character will engender trust and bring lasting success with people. We will be honest and above-board with all persons we come into contact with.

2. Respect

We know that good manners is the foundation of respect in dealing with others. Respect gives us dignity and builds our confidence. We shall recognise the self-worth of our colleagues and customers. We shall show, and we will expect to receive, respect from all persons we deal with in the workplace.

3. Integrity

We will demonstrate integrity in our relations with co-workers, customers, and management. We will keep our commitments. We will hold up our end of any bargain we make, even in the face of personal loss. We shall be consistent and honest in all our dealings. We shall not make rash, emotional decisions. We shall stick with the truth, even when we do not like it. We shall not take shortcuts, but will be willing to fight to do what is right. We shall not bow to others’ opinions, but will do what we know is right, even when it is unpopular. We shall not make promises we know we cannot keep. We will strive to show personal integrity in our work, at home, and in our dealings with friends and acquaintances.

4. Confidentiality

We recognise that as office professionals we are expected to show a high level of confidentiality in respect of our office duties. It will be no benefit to ourselves, our co-workers or our customers, if we carry tales about them to those who have no business to hear about it. Any information that we learn in the course of our work will remain at work.

5. Professionalism

We make a commitment to ourselves, our colleagues and our employers that we will strive to excel at our occupation. We will focus in on the needs of our businesses and of its customers. We will go the extra mile for them where necessary. We will ensure that office resources are used effectively and efficiently. We will dress appropriately for the office at all times, and we will conduct ourselves with courtesy and respect.

6. Communication

Good communication ensures a minimum of problems with others. We will not be quick to find fault with others who do not conform to the patterns and standards that we hold. We will strive to assist with the smooth operation of the organisation we work for. We will work at improving our efficiency at the job. We will do what is proper to maintain the confidence of customers and clients in our employer’s business. We will do what we can to build teamwork and better relationships at work.

7. Empathy

We all have our bad days. But, in general we recognise that to be good at our jobs and a credit to our organisation we need to strive to solve rather than to create problems. We shall work to help each other to improve our performance. We will show our colleagues that we value their contribution, and we will encourage each other as we go about our tasks. We will show care and concern for both our colleagues and our customers.

8. Trust

We recognise that to be true professionals we have to show trust in the good faith and honesty of our colleagues and customers. Trust is the foundation of all good relationships. We shall always assume the best of others, until we have good reason to behave otherwise. We shall focus on shared goals rather than on personal agendas. We will do the right thing at work, regardless of personal risk. We will listen to others with an open mind, demonstrate compassion where needed, and maintain confidence shown in us. In this way we will build the trust of our customers and colleagues in ourselves and the business for the benefit of all.

9. Accountability

Nothing helps to keep a person honest like accountability. Accountability gives teeth to our pledge to live by high ethical standards. We accept that we must be responsible for our actions. We shall accept the consequences of our actions and not try to evade and avoid responsibility. We also know that in order to live up to the standards required of us as professionals we need to ask our colleagues to help to keep us honest and responsible. We will not be unduly upset when others point out our failings, but will strive to improve our performance.

10. Transparency

We recognise that we must be transparent in all our dealings with our colleagues, management, and customers. To be otherwise will reduce the confidence that others have in us and in our employer’s business.

11. Responsibility

To be truly professional, we must be answerable for our own actions. We shall strive to develop personal discipline. We will try to know our weaknesses so that we do not allow others to exploit them. We shall be consistent in admitting to the consequences of our actions. We shall not strive to make excuses, but will act professionally at all times.

12 Impartiality

We recognise that we need to act fairly with all interests that come into contact with our work place. We shall avoid discrimination and prejudice at all times. In this way we shall build the confidence of our colleagues and our customers in the quality of our firm’s services and in the contribution that we make.

13. Tolerance

We recognise that we are not all identical in our backgrounds and characteristics. We know that our employer must serve the needs of all the public, and that we must do our share to show courtesy and professionalism to all types of persons with whom we come into contact in the course of our work.

14 Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, sexually motivated physical contact, and other verbal or physical conduct, or visual forms of harassment of a sexual nature, when submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of employment or is used as the basis for employment decisions, or when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. Lewd or vulgar remarks, suggestive comments, pressure for dates or sexual favours and unacceptable physical contact are examples of what can constitute harassment. We recognise that a harmonious and productive working relationship is essential in the work place. We shall do what we must to foster harmonious and productive working relationships that encourage mutual employee respect. We recognise that in a few cases there is a degree of sexual harassment in the workplace that has to be faced up to and overcome. We shall not ourselves engage in sexual harassment of our juniors, nor shall we accept it from our seniors.

[28 June 2007 Seminar - The Office Professional: The Need for Ethics and Integrity]

We all got certificates. Clicking on the photo will enlarge it.

What is extraordinary about this document is that it is the product of clerical officers, secretaries, and office administrators who are mainly young persons. Would it not be wonderful if we could get our legislators and executive in government to do a similar thing? Perhaps, members of the House of Assembly and of Executive Council are above ethics and integrity!


  1. Enron had an excellent ethics policy statement but their systems for monitoring and compliance were lacking.

    Words without deeds is the traditionally accepted practice in Anguilla. We make fine speeches and everyone smiles and pretends that life is like a Nat Hodge editorial.

    Carillion has inspiring things to say in the UK about the rights of its workers, but these seem to have no relevancy to the working conditions of their Indian worker-slaves in Anguilla.

    Rotary International imposes ethical duties on its members but allows them to become slumlords for worker-slaves who seem to have been working illegally in Anguilla.

    Feeling is believing.

  2. Oh lighten up!
    When we have nothing to go by anything goes.
    Now we DO have something to go by and it sounds solid.
    Code of ethics, first draft.
    Maybe in the second draft procedures for whisle blowing can be included.
    I hope a final draft is circulated soon.

  3. I was so proud to read what these young people have done. Congratulations to them. And to think that some of our politicians have been in the House of Assembly for 20 and 30 years and they have no code of ethics. You can be a minister of government and be bound by no code. You can be a representative and nobody minds that you are bound by no code. But our 21 year olds are deciding that they will be bound by a code of ethics. Shame on our politicians.

  4. I noticed recently that the Government has a "New" link on its web site to a Code of Ethics for Anguilla's Public Servants.

    The following is a quote from the document's Introduction:

    The Anguilla Public Service has identified the standards outlined in this document as those expected to be met by public servants in the conduct of their duties. This Code of Ethics for the Anguilla Public Service will assist public servants in their daily efforts to achieve and maintain certain standards in public life.

    The Code is applicable to ALL public servants.

    Now if only all public servants would read this and live by it!


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