Anti-corruption and integrity in the public sector

OECD supports Hungary in developing a Code of Conduct for Civil Servants


5 July 2012 - Budapest, Hungary


The OECD together with the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice of Hungary organised a workshop on codes of conduct with the participation of over 100 civil servants from the whole of public administration, as well as experts from Austria, Slovenia and the OECD Secretariat.


The workshop discussed key issues for developing and implementing a code of conduct in Hungary, and took place within the framework of the OECD - Hungary Partnership in Public Administration Reform Programme through which the OECD provides advice in support of the “Magyary Programme - a Framework Strategy for Public Administration Development 2011-2014”.



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The workshop was opened by Viktor Horváth, Head of the Department for the Reform of the Public Administration and Strategy Planning, Ministry of Public Administration and Justice and Mr. Janos Bertok, Head of the OECD Public Sector Integrity Division, Public Governance Directorate. Mr. Stefan Ritter from the Austrian Federal Chancellery and Ms. Urška Gorenc-Ule, Public Sector Directorate, Slovenian Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, shared their experiences in adopting codes of conduct and implementing them to enhance integrity in the public sector. They shared insights on (i) how the code was prepared and adopted in various country contexts; (ii) how the codes are implemented and applied in practice with particular reference to challenges; and (iii) the lessons learned.


Participants held lively discussions in breakout sessions on issues including: 

  • problems arising from gifts and hospitality
  • conflicts between obedience and professionalism
  • the effect of codes of conduct on privacy
  • transparency as a core value of a code of conduct; and
  • ethical and rational limits of cooperation between colleagues, state institutions, and customers or social partners.


Participants identified the following as success factors for an effective code of conduct:

  • An inclusive consultative process in the development of a code of conduct involving stakeholders including, professional associations, labour unions, etc;
  • Evolving focus of a code of conduct from compliance-based to recognising integrity as an essential part of professionalism, supported by training and advice;
  • Implementation is a constant effort supported by a bottom-up approach which involves all staff;
  • Leadership, in particular setting a personal example at the top, is also key for putting a code of conduct into practice;
  • Understanding the role and potential of a code of conduct as part of an integrity framework and within a wider public management context.


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