Ethics in the Public Sector

Ethical behavior is vital in the development of every organization, for promoting collaborative work among colleagues and creating trust and confidence. At the border management environment, we have several workers who are assigned different duties with an obligation to serve with integrity. Public service is like a public trust, and every customs employee is entitled to be accountable to their government and its citizens (Aurifeille, 2011). Ethical behavior among customs employees increases public confidence and trust, and hence all the employees must be honest and act professionally. Maintaining the highest level of integrity ensures that the public has confidence and are assured of security within the borders. Border management requires equal service delivery without discrimination of color or social status of an individual. When a customs employee accepts gifts in terms of money and other items, they have already gone against the set ethical codes of conduct, and this dramatically affects border management. For a good reputation of the border management for a particular country, the customs administration must ensure that all the codes of ethics are strictly observed. For example, when all the customs official decides not to accept tokens at the border and allow illegal items into the country, the rate of drug trafficking will be reduced.

Unethical Behavior among Customs Officials

Public sector employees are expected to conduct themselves in a way that is beyond reproach, but essentially circumstances arise when the employees commit acts which are unethical. Examples of some of the actions of the customs employees which are unethical comprise of requesting money to circumvent processes. For instance, a customs official can accept cash so that a physical inspection is not done on a cargo. The associated risk of such behavior will be the entry of items which are illegal into the country, and this will result in a lack of confidence in the border administration by the public. When a customs employee uses agency money for private purposes, a shortcoming can be experienced in allocating resources for the effective operation of the border administration. A shortage of finances impairs the productive performance of the border administration resulting in the increased budget by the government. When a customs official has a conflict of interest within foreign trade and fails to declare. The official is likely to interfere with all the across the border processes which are conducted by the customs administration, and certain goods can enter the country without paying customs charges.

2)    Governance in the Public Sector

Fundamental Elements for good Governance in the Public Sector

Customs officers are often issued with codes of conduct, and the implication also explained diligently. There are disciplinary measures that are placed when an employee dismisses the codes of conduct that are established to guide their operations. Certain key elements contribute to good governance in the public sector, and they can effectively contribute to sound governance in a border management agency.  There fundamental factors that must be considered by the customs employees to ensure that there is good governance in a border management agency. The elements encompass personal responsibility, compliance with the law, relations with the public, avoiding conflict of interest and political activities.

Personal responsibility

Customs officers must accept personal responsibility to comply with the code of conducts within the border administration. The employees must strictly observe the codes of conduct and ensure that they respect all the moral laws so that they can deliver with accountability. The employees are expected to perform their duties with high levels of professionalism and integrity so that the border management agency can understand the entry of goods and people across the border into a country. A customs official should treat members of the public with courtesy and be sensitive to their rights. Harassment has become common among the customs officials, and this has created a sense of insecurity to those who are entering the country. When officials can pay attention and act as according to personal responsibility, the rate of harassment along the borders will be reduced, and the civil rights of the people will be respected.

Compliance with the law

All the customs officers working along the borders must respect the set laws, and in any case, they commit any offense, they should be charged under the act of Border agencies. Common crimes like fraud, drugs, accepting bribes or the illegal importation or exportation of goods are subject to disciplinary actions. When officers understand the punishment associated with implicating the set laws, they are likely to be competent with their jobs, and in case of an offense, they will report to the senior management.

Relations with the public

The public has high expectations that their transaction with the customs will be carried out confidentially and professionally. The customs employees are expected to respect the rights of the people and act following the law by honestly helping people. Right relationship is developed with the public if the customs are courteous and act in a way that deserves respect from the public.

Avoiding conflict of interest

Officers are allowed to invest in securities and shareholdings, but they restricted towards direct or indirect official decision making which can impact the value of their investment. The customs employees and officers are obliged not to use information obtained in the course of their official duties to enhance their private interests. When customs officers avoid involvement in such shareholdings, the level of governance in the border agency improves since the officials will become committed into only serving the agency without divided interest.

Political activities

Customs officers are not expected to make irrelevant public comments concerning government programs and policy since it results in the incompetence of the officers. A competent officer understands the boundary with the government and cannot act in any capacity to attack the government with incorrect statements. Lack of participation in political matters improves the relationship with a government and the border management agency will be able to gain support from the government.

3)    Accountability in the Public Sector

The Role of Accountability in Border Management

The primary role the customs officials play at the borders is to combat all forms of drug trafficking, terrorism, and smuggling. To ensure that the roles are played sufficiently the customs officials must act with a high level of accountability. Accountability is required for effective border management which assists a nation to enhance on national security. As public officials, the customs employees are expected to serve their responsibilities and be accountable to the public and the government.  Accountability compels all employees to serve their responsibility with the intention of issuing good governance. Accountability facilitates good border management that improves the ability of the government to balance their interest in promoting cross-border movements and maintaining security. Accountability on human rights ensures that the civil rights of the people are not interfered with and everyone can be served without discrimination. Border security officials are sometimes harassing those who are crossing the borders, but when they serve with accountability, few cases of harassment will be reported since customs official will respect the human rights of the people.

Principle stakeholders

The public governance at the board management agency is often affected by the relationships with the stakeholders in the governance system. Customs stakeholders are the people, group or organizations which have an interest in the border management agency. Stakeholders are affected by the policies and activities of the border management agency. Some of the stakeholders who are affected by the actions of the Board Management agency comprises of the staff, the citizens and the government. The boarder’s agency is obliged to provide excellent services to the citizens who are crossing the body and the one who rely on their system to obtain national security. The security of the citizens at the borders and beyond depends on how competent the Board Management agency employees are during operations. The government is also affected by the activities at the border since a lack of proper scrutiny of the luggage permits the entry of illegal items into the country which affects the security of the state. The staff is composed of the customs employees who the Boarders Management agency must address their welfare appropriately to motivate them towards improved performance.

The influence of Governance Structure on Custom’s Accountability

Governance structure such as culture and corporate governance structure significantly impacts accountability among the customs employees. An essential aspect of cultural heritage that promotes ethical standards among the members of the society compels the customs board of administration to respect the customs of the society. For example, the influence of traditional leaders can impact the governance of the board since the members of the community are also the stakeholders. Corporate governance is a structure that determines organizational direction and performance. The corporate governance framework depends on stakeholders and management. For example in reporting actions to the World Customs Organization, the border protection in the U.S must ensure that the regulatory framework is related to the concept of transparency.

Four a) Principle of transparency in the public sector

Public transparency is the openness, ready accessibility and honest visibility to information about the government entities, business, and individuals. Transparency requires individuals in governance to operate a fair and open manner so that observers can easily see through their activities. Traders and individuals often want predictability and certainty in their operations with customs.

  1. b) Importance of customs administration transparency

Transparency and predictability of regulations at the borders are recognized as the essentials of trade facilitation. Transparent regulations and procedures enable traders to comprehend the conditions for and the constraints on exports, imports, and operation on transits vividly so that they obtain accurate picture on costs. Predictability as an element of transparency is essential since an interpretation can be explained concerning delays in procedures. Transparency can be applied, and this can be sued effectively to eliminate corruption which can interfere with the reputation of the Boarders management agency.

  1. c) Consequences of lacking transparency

Customs administration must operate with transparency since when they are not transparent insecurity, lack of integrity among customs employees and illegal trade across the borders become the consequences. When illegal items are passed across the border since customs officials cannot inspect luggage after receiving a bribe, the rate of terrorism is likely to be on the rise. Most customs employees are likely to adapt to the culture of corruption and ravaging the reputation of the administration. Finally, illegal trades such as drug smuggling and trafficking will take place across the border, and this becomes a threat to the security of the nation.

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