OECD Public Integrity Handbook

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The OECD Public Integrity Handbook provides guidance to government, business and civil society on implementing the OECD Recommendation on Public Integrity. The Handbook clarifies what the Recommendation’s thirteen principles mean in practice and identifies challenges in implementing them. The Handbook provides guidance on improving co-operation within government, as well between the national and subnational levels. To build cultures of integrity across government and society, the Handbook details the core elements of a merit-based human resource management system and the key ingredients of open organisational cultures. It also clarifies government’s role in providing guidance to companies, civil society and citizens on upholding public integrity values. Moreover, the Handbook unpacks how to use the risk management process to assess and manage integrity risks, and highlights how to use the enforcement system to ensure real accountability for integrity violations.

English Also available in: French, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, German


This chapter provides a commentary on the principle of openness contained within the OECD Recommendation of the Council on Public Integrity. It describes how open organisational cultures support a safe environment where employees can discuss ethical dilemmas, potential conflict-of-interest situations and integrity concerns. It identifies key levers to promote openness, including employee engagement and identification with integrity values, and responsive, credible and trustworthy management. The chapter also looks at the core elements of an effective whistleblower protection system, with a particular focus on ensuring that clear rules, procedures and channels are in place to report suspected integrity violations. In addition, the chapter discusses how hierarchical and formal civil service cultures can undermine openness, and looks at how capacity building and dedicated resources are critical to ensuring openness. It also looks at challenges related to the cultural perception of whistleblowers, and confidential and anonymous reporting mechanisms.

English Also available in: German, Spanish, Portuguese, French

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