The Federation Press

Local Government, Public Enterprise and Ethics


This book aims to place ethical practice on the agenda of local government and to locate local government in the expanding international network of public sector ethics.

Beyond the development of codes of conduct (an important first step) the contributors consider ways in which theories of ethical behaviour can be brought to bear on practice of local government. The contributors to this volume reflect the breadth of the field of local government. From the UK, where local government has had responsibility for a large range of service delivery, to the government of a small community on Cape York in Australia. From large conurbations, such as Los Angeles, to villages, towns and cities in Australia and Canada, there are points of reference for all practitioners to recognise and place their own context.

The diversity evident in these discussions and deliberations shows that "local" covers a range of places and experiences. Each chapter takes as its focus different aspects of local government which we hope will assist local government practitioners in their thinking about the issues of ethical practice. Overall, this volume combines background information on ethics for local government officials and bodies with practical guidance for implementing a local government ethics policy.


The underlying theme of the book is to offer measures of and for ethical practice that constrain the market imperative to mindfulness of public responsibility. Each chapter offers a distinct and distinctive contribution to debate about public sector ethics: be it a citizen, indigenous, cross-national, fiscal accountability, planning or code of conduct perspective. The issues the various authors debate have direct utility to social work practice. The content is both sufficiently conceptual and flexible in that it has as much relevance for work with the individual as it has for work with the community. It offers particular insights to social workers working in organisations, who may struggle to reconcile the aims of social work with organisational values that are professionally and personally alienating. ... The book provides a coherence in argument and structure and content that makes it compelling reading. Each chapter returns to the theme of the importance of values, of duty of care, of attention to process, as key operating concepts in public office and policy. Social work is challenged by market-place principles, and notions of best value, that rarely accommodate the needs of vulnerable and marginalised citizens. - Australian Social Work, Vol 55 No 3, 2002

Table of Contents

Foreword by John Campbell, Local Government Association of Australia

Noel Preston and Patrick Bishop
Public Sector Ethics: What are we talking about?
Noel Preston
Customers, Citizens and Consultation:The ethics of representation
Patrick Bishop
Probity and Ethics in English Local Government: The impact of competition, privatisation and new public management
Alan Doig and John Wilson
Ethical Issues in Citizen Participation and Representation in Local Government
Terry Cooper
Local Government and Native Title Process Agreements in Australia and Canada: Ethical practice and shifting contexts
Michele Ivanitz
Financial Accountability (and beyond) in Local Government: An ethical analysis
Michael Macklin
Who Cares? Australian planners and ethics
Andrea Cook and Wendy Sarkissian
The Challenge of Implementing Codes of Conduct in Local Government Authorities
Mike Nelson
Insiders' Perspectives
Jane Lomax-Smith, Lord Mayor, City of Adelaide
Ann Portess, Mayor, Herberton Shire, Queensland
Peter Opio-Otim, Executive Officer, Aboriginal Shires Association (Cairns)
Kerry Rea, Councillor, Brisbane City Council

Appendix 1 - Selected Ethics and Code of Condust Websites
Appendix 2 - Risks and Their Management in Local Government
Barry O'Keefe, QC, former ICAC Commissioner, former Mayor, Mosman Council NSW.

About the Contributors/ Index

Of interest...