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Conflict of Interest Management: Post-Employment Policies

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Practice Advice on Human Resource Management

Conflict of Interest Management: Post-Employment Policies  (OECD)

Summary Advice: The OECD advises governments to create policies to manage potential conflict of interest situations in post-public employment.

Main Points: The public sector has faced a growing challenge on how to attract the best and the brightest personnel. The horizontal movement of personnel between the public and private sectors, known as the "revolving" door phenomenon, supports the development of skills and competences. However, it also raises the risk of conflict of interest. Several OECD countries have encouraged the movement of personnel between the public and private sector. While most OECD countries support the idea that civil servants should develop and facilitate their skills in the private sector, transfer from public to private sector raises questions about potential use of special insider knowledge and the misuse of confidential information.

Post–public employment may also become a contentious issue, especially in periods of government transition, downsizing and outsourcing. The OECD recommends that, in an effort to prevent the misuse of confidential information by former officials and minimize the possibility of using public office for unfair advantage in obtaining post-employment, governments officials should:

  • Set standards for preventing conflict of interest must properly reflect public expectations.
  • Ensure that existing mechanisms enable the affective application of standards in case of conflict of interest situations.
  • Discourage the inappropriate use of personal influence, and avoid suspicion of rewarding past decisions which may have benefited a prospective employer.
  • Restrictions should differ according to the level of officials, the more senior the official, the more stringent the restrictions. The most senior level of officials are top decision makers such as ministers, cabinet members, senior political appointees and their advisors, Members of Parliament and Congress, as well as senior civil and public servants, chief executives and managers of state-owned enterprises.
  • Strive to find the right balance in the legal framework between excessive prohibitions and restrictions for post-public employment. Too stringent restrictions for post-public employment may discourage knowledgeable and experienced people from entering the public service. Flexibility in deciding on unique cases should be retained, however, to ensure objectivity and fairness; decision-makers must develop standards for deciding unique cases.
  • Task a government entity with the implementation of decisions on post-public sector employment. A combination of traditional disciplinary measures, as well as criminal and administrative sanctions should be made available for use in non-compliance cases.

In sum, maintaining trust in the legitimacy of public decisions requires that public officials put in place frameworks and arrangements for ensuring transparency of policymaking and accessibility of information for all stakeholders.

Source: OECD (2010). Post Public Employment: Good Practices for Preventing Conflict of Interest at: http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/post-public-employment_9789264056701-en (accessed 3 January 2013).

Page Created By: Khilola B. Zakhidova on 3 January 2013. Updated by Ian Clark on 5 January 2013. The content presented on this page is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases. This material does not necessarily reflect the official view of the publishing organization.

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