THE NECESSITY OF STANDARDS: INTEGRITY AND ETHICS AT THE COMMISSION
Corruption is a global problem that affects people’s access to essential public services. As such, most public and private organizations have recently established Integrity Committees (IC) tasked with the responsibility to spearhead the prevention of corruption and related malpractices or maladministration. As a way of preventing such practices, organizations have come up with standards on how to interact with their internal and external stakeholders. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (the ‘Commission’) has not been left out as it has an IC which was established in 2020, and whose responsibility has been to ensure that the standards enshrined in the Commission’s Values, Code of Conduct and Ethics and the Service Charter are adhered to.
A Code of Conduct and Ethics is a collection or set of principles, rules and policies about how employees should behave while performing their job. The Commission’s Code of Conduct and Ethics is designed to ensure the core values of the Commission are upheld by all employees and these are: Professionalism, Integrity, Respect, Excellence, Responsiveness and Transparency. These values are the backbone of the Commission which every member of staff is expected to exhibit and adhere to in the daily execution of their duties. At the heart of these values is the element of integrity which means ‘choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain’. Without integrity, one cannot act in a professional, respective, responsive, and transparent manner when dealing with internal and external stakeholders, thereby jeopardizing the levels of excellence and efficiency in the delivery of work. As such, integrity is key in upholding the core values; as the saying goes, “Success without integrity is failure.”
Therefore, in its quest to ensure that its employees embrace and uphold high ethical standards and integrity as they execute their mandate of promoting competition and consumer welfare in Zambia, the Commission has undertaken deliberate strategies in upholding ethics and integrity as shown below:
- Revision of the performance scorecard in March 2022, to include the “integrity and ethical conduct” component when reviewing the performance of an employee.
- IC’s development of the Anti-Corruption Prevention Action for 2022.
- The Commission’s deliberate display of its anti-corruption policy, motto and signature which have been included on its headed paper, email signature, website, client feedback questionnaire, and in presentations to internal and external stakeholders.
- Compulsory participation of CCPC employees in the commemoration of integrity month in November through development and implementation of activities aimed at championing the Commission’s ethics and values.
- Commission’s continuous engagements with IC members from other institutions through workshops and trainings.
- Printing and dissemination of the Commission’s Service Charter and Anti-Corruption Policy to all the 10 provincial offices.
The above strategies have not gone unrecognized as the Commission had been awarded best innovation in impacting ethics and integrity in 2021.
The aforementioned standards of values and ethics are necessary in every organization, especially a High Performing Organization (HPO) like the Commission. Some of the reasons as to why standards are important are that they assist in: Self-determination; Leadership; Organizational Culture; Reward and Recognition; Efficiency; Risk Management and Consistency in Service Delivery.