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Ethics, Selwyn DC Young Professionals


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On 9 May 2017, Ross Waugh talked about "Ethics" to Selwyn District Council Young Professionals.

Ross discusses the IPENZ (Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand) Code of Ethical Conduct. He also cited the IPWEA Code of Ethics, among others.

Ross presents case studies and provides some examples and insights on ethical issues surrounding professional engineering and district council practices.

Published in: Engineering
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Ethics, Selwyn DC Young Professionals

  1. 1. Ethics Selwyn Young Professionals, 9 May 2017 Presentation by Ross Waugh
  2. 2. What is Ethics? Oxford Dictionary  1[usually treated as plural] Moral principles that govern a person's behaviour or the conducting of an activity ‘medical ethics also enter into the question’ ‘a code of ethics’  1.1 The moral correctness of specified conduct. ‘many scientists question the ethics of cruel experiments’  2[usually treated as singular] The branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles. ‘neither metaphysics nor ethics is the home of religion’
  3. 3. What is Ethics? Wikipedia Defining Ethics Meta Ethics Normative Ethics (10 headings)  Virtue ethics  Ethics of care Applied Ethics (9 headings)  Business ethics  Public Sector ethics Moral Psychology Descriptive ethics It is a huge subject area
  4. 4. Sources of Ethics Statements  IPENZ standards/ethical-conduct/code-of-ethical-conduct  IPWEA  Law Society lawyers/regulatory-requirements/client-care  Chartered Accountants ANZ ifac/membership/members/chartered-accountants- australia-and-new-zealand-formerly-recognized-0
  5. 5. IPENZ Code of Ethical Conduct Public Interest Take reasonable steps to safeguard health and safety Have regard to effects on environment Report adverse consequences Personal Conduct Act competently Behave Appropriately Inform others of consequences on not following advice Maintain confidentiality Report breach of Code
  6. 6. IPWEA Code of Ethics Demonstrate Integrity Practise Competently Exercise Leadership Promote Sustainability
  7. 7. How often to review / refresh How often do you need to remind yourself of Ethics requirements? US Engineers have to take a CPD paper on ethics every 2 years Most professional societies offer ethics papers and refreshers Taking a paper every few years 2-5 sounds like good advice, but who does this unless it is compulsory
  8. 8. Case Studies - Problems in LG over the past decade Small Borough rates, 1950’s (as the story goes)  Prior to financial delegations requirements  Borough Clerk collected the rates  Borough Clerk left for Australia with all the rates  Lead to the Financial Delegations requirements for Councils
  9. 9. Case Studies - Problems in LG over the past decade Otago District Health Board IT procurement  Two Otago businessmen are facing prison terms after being convicted of one of New Zealand's biggest frauds  Otago District Health Board Chief Information Officer and Queenstown Surveyor  Guilty of stealing $17 million from the Otago District Health Board  luxury boats, flash cars and expensive homes, mostly paid for with millions of dollars of public health money dishonestly taken  Over six years, Board invoiced for computer support services and risk mitigation insurance  "They've stolen health opportunities from the sick and the elderly and they've stolen equipment opportunities and asset management opportunities from our staff”
  10. 10. Case Studies - Problems in LG over the past decade Dunedin CC Car Sale and Procurement  theft of more than 150 council vehicles and misused fuel cards  Over an 11-year period, 152 vehicles were unaccounted for, while more than $100,000 was misappropriated on a council fuel card  Fleet Manager, who is suspected of committing suicide soon after questions were raised  "A number of red flags, including Mr Bachop's lifestyle exceeding his salary...were ignored”  Other effects – loss of Council trust in staff, 2 Group Managers left or resigned, one other manager resigned
  11. 11. Case Studies - Problems in LG over the past decade Rodney / Auckland Transport  A roading contractor and a senior council manager have been found guilty of corruption  Council Manager (Noone) was found guilty on six charges of receiving $1.2 million in bribes from Roading Contractor (Borlase).  Borlase, in turn, was found guilty on eight charges of offering bribes to Noone and other council staff.  They have each been sentenced to at least five years in prison after being found guilty of corruption, bribery and fraud and convicted.  The corrupt relationship ran from 2006 until 2012, from Noone worked at Rodney District Council, continuing when he joined Auckland Transport following the supercity merger.  "The extensive provision of benefits to staff at all levels of their teams resulted in a culture where corruption flourished and was normalised, with no questions asked” – additional 6 staff resigned  "There was very little chance of disgruntled or principled employees speaking out as everyone was being 'looked after' or was compromised.
  12. 12. Case Studies - Problems in LG over the past decade Westland DC  Council assets manager Goel is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over allegations of financial impropriety.  Goel was in charge of organising tenders and supervising contracts for council projects such as wastewater treatment.  The project was not put out to public tender. It is understood three companies were approached for expressions of interest in the project.  A new business, run by a cake decorator, which had no track record in waste management won a Westland District Council project to build a $7 million sewage plant in Franz Josef (being used as a ‘shell’ company for an Indian importer)  Other impacts – loss of Council Trust, CEO has resigned
  13. 13. How to …. sticky situations  You suspect your boss of fraud  A contractor or consultant approaches you with a gift or offer (AT/MAD)  One of you colleagues seems to have a ‘what’s in it for me’ approach  You have an entrepreneurial / innovative idea and want to use public money PNCC  Council wants you to change advice in a report  You are asked to do something you consider unethical
  14. 14. How to …. sticky situations (2)  You are asked to step outside contract processes – by other staff or contractor  Tender evaluation ‘pressure’ (CCO)  Tender ‘irregularities’  Engineer to Contract evaluations  Getting ‘around’ Council purchasing policy to expedite work  Preferred contractor/consultant  Over-running approved Contract sums  The ‘study tour’
  15. 15. How Councils manage ethics issues  Gifting Policy, Register, Declarations of Gifts, Interests  Procurement Policy  Use of Probity Auditors in procurement  Contract Administration Manual  Contract Variations Processes, SOP and Policies  Multiple Signatories to documents, processes  Purchase Orders  Delegations Register
  16. 16. Conclusion  Ethics is about moral principles  NZ has absolutely no tolerance of unethical, dishonest or corrupt practice  Understand and review professional society ethics statements / requirements  Good processes, policies, practices and administration go a long way  Stay awake to potential problems  Sunlight/Transparency is a good antidote
  17. 17. Last Thoughts  Your professional reputation is vital to your continued career in any industry (Arthur Anderson)  If in doubt ask for guidance, checks  Be transparent and open  Show leadership in ethics  Behaviour, addictions, financial stress can be triggers for ethics issues  Don’t compromise in ethics