Discuss the Nolan Committee’s principles of public life. (150 words)

Discuss the Nolan Committee’s principles of public life. (150 words)


  • Introduce with importance of ethics in public life and mention Nolan committee
  • Discuss the principles as given by Nolan Committee.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Public officials are expected to uphold highest standards in their actions and an ethical code acts as a guide to achieve this. In the year 1994, The Committee on Standards in Public Life, famously known as the Nolan Committee, was set up in the UK to advice on the ethical standards in the public life.

The seven principles of public life given by The Nolan Committee are as follows:

  • Selflessness: Public officials should act solely in terms of public interest.They should not seek any personal gains out of the public position they hold.
  • Integrity: Any obligation to a person or organisation must be avoided by public officers which can influence them in performing their official duties.
  • Objectivity: The official decisions taken must be impartial, fair and on merit; utilising the best evidence available and without any prejudice.
  • Accountability: Public officials are ultimately accountable to the public, to ensure this it is  necessary that they are open to any scrutiny.
  • Openness: The decisions must be taken in a transparent manner, all the information should be disclosed to the public unless the law forbids it.
  • Honesty: The public officers must be truthful and honest towards their duties and responsibilities.
  • Leadership: The holders of public office must uphold these principles in their behaviour and lead by example.

These principles form the cornerstone of a public office and many countries have embodied these principles through various means like the constitution, laws, service codes, etc.

Subjects : Ethics – Essence