Client: Ministry of Finance

Period: 2023

This is a trend study that helps to monitor developments in public service ethics and serves as the basis for updating public service ethics training programs and the activities of the Council of Ethics of Officials. The study also provides input to authorities to develop ethical management systems and to promote ethical behavior within organizations.

The data for the study was collected through a web-based survey in late September and early October 2023, with 1841 civil servants responding to the questionnaire.

Three quarters of civil servants (73%) believe that working in the public sector requires the presence of certain values or attitudes. The most important values in public service, according to civil servants, are legality, honesty, and credibility.

Civil servants support the view that the values of the Code of Ethics for Officials should apply to all public service employees, not just officials. They believe that decision-making processes in the public sector should be as transparent and inclusive as possible, based on the overall goals of the state. The most serious ethical violations, according to civil servants, include leaking of information for official use and accepting compensation for public service.

In shaping a more ethical civil service, the example of leaders is very important, according to civil servants. The broader societal context (including political culture), public sector personnel policies, and employee training are also considered important. 62% of civil servants have participated in public service ethics training, a significant increase compared to previous years.

The study was conducted within the framework of the Operational Programme for Cohesion Policy Funds 2014-2020, under the priority axis “Administrative Capacity“ of the program “Central Training and Development of Human Resources“. It was financed by the European Social Fund and Estonian national budget.