Fashola Presents Code of Conduct, Public Service Rules For Public Servants
• Says Government has spoken with one voice in Lagos because the different departments have worked together as a team
• "Public Service Rules have been established so that the right hand will know what the left hand is doing", he says
May 25, 2015 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Monday publicly presented the new Public Service Rules and Code of Conduct to guide the conduct of Public Servants in the State.
In his remarks before the presentation of the two documents at the Banquet Hall of the Lagos House, Ikeja, Governor Fashola said the Code of Conduct for the Public Service became expedient as a result of the need to harmonize conduct of the various officers, agencies and departments of Government so as to speak with one voice.
Governor Fashola, who recalled his experience on assuming duty as Chief of Staff in the State's Public Service, said the Code of Conduct was necessary to guide a new officer on his or her schedule of duty and scope of authority and supervision adding that without such knowledge, such an officer was bound to fail.
"I remember my first day as Chief of Staff; I was just brought into a hall full of about I,000 staff and told that they were my staff and then I was handed my work schedule", the Governor said adding that such matters as budgetary issues and others came up only at retreats.
Explaining the need to streamline the conduct of officers of Government, he said there was need for every public officer to understand his or her schedule of work and scope of management in order to succeed adding, "If you don't understand what you are supposed to manage, then probably you have started to fail".
Giving insight into the Code of Conduct, Governor Fashola said some of the things taken care of were issues like granting interviews by public officers on behalf of Government and how to respond if the Government was sued in terms of who to consult so as to enable the State Government set up a defense.
"There are rules about granting interviews, there are guides for how to respond if the State is sued and what you should do, who you should consult so that the State can even set up a defense. So these are some of the little things that are taken care of in the Code of Conduct; there is some guide about how and when and in what processes public officers should grant interviews so that as a government we speak with one voice", the Governor said.
He noted that some governments in the country issue one statement in the morning, change such statements in the afternoon and issue another one in the evening, adding, "Somehow we have avoided that in Lagos because we have worked together as a team".
Expressing the hope that I believe that improved technology would also further improve the situation, in the next few years, Governor Fashola added, "So I believe that as new public officers come into service they have a set of code that will guide their conduct. Public officers like special advisers, personal assistants and others coming into the service, some for the first time will know that everybody is guided by the same rules".
On Public Service Rules, Governor Fashola, who noted that it was first reviewed in 1982 as Civil Service Rules, added that the name was changed to Public Service Rules to accommodate those coming into the service as political appointees from the private sector pointing out that such harmonization was necessary in order to operate under one rule.
According to the Governor, "A lot of things has happened between 1982 and now which has made it expedient to review and harmonize the rules in order to accommodate those coming into the service from outside as political appointees; because as lawyers we see everybody from outside as one".
Noting that allowing Civil and Public Servants to be guided by different rules would make it difficult especially in matters of law, he further explained, We changed the name to Public Service Rules so that all the statutory corporations and agencies and Parastatals of government will be subject to the same rules.
"That is what we have done here so that the right hand will know what the left hand is doing. Some of the rules that have been reviewed include Maternity Leave which now allows nursing mothers to take six months leave with pay", the Governor said adding, "If we are the people going out to advocate to the Ministry of Health a one year exclusive breast feeding, then we must lead from the front".
Thanking all the public officers who contributed to the successful review of the rules, including the former Head of Service, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe, Commissioners and other members of the State Executive Council, Governor Fashola declared, "As we present this set of rules, we must understand that rules are made for men and not men for rules so as they become insufficient to take us to our goals, there is need, from time to time, to take a look at them and see what can be changed and what can be retained and this is what we have done".
Earlier, while introducing the two documents, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said the Public presentation of the documents became necessary because the incoming government officials, including the new Governor and other public officers required guidelines.
The Attorney-General, who said the review was meant to capture only essentials within the rules, pointed out that the Code of Conduct for Public Office holders was meant to be an induction for every Public Officer in terms of the context in which such officer was being asked to serve.
He said the Guidelines contained the expected relationship that should exist for example between an Executive public officer and members of the legislature as well as other public servants in other departments of Government so that all the officers of Government would work harmoniously as a team.
In her welcome address, earlier, Head of Service, Mrs. Folashade Jaji, Commended the contribution of her predecessor, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe in the review of the Public Service Rules which, according to her, was first reviewed as Civil Service Rules in 1982.
Also present at the event were members of the State Executive Council including the Deputy Governor, Hon. (Mrs.) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire and Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions, Mrs. Florence Oguntuase, Body of Permanent Secretaries and other top government functionaries.