What It Means to Be a Public Servant
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Public servants work for government and for citizens. They're responsible to the elected government, not a political party. They develop and deliver public programs or services, inform policy-making, and provide evidence-based advice to leaders.
Working through change, out in the open. Public servants regularly adapt policies and services to meet current needs. They're resilient and strong – being responsive to public input and determined to maintain services even in the most challenging situations.
It's more than doing a job. A career in the public service is for anyone who wants to make a difference. It means putting public interests first – ahead of personal interests. Many public servants say they chose public service because they enjoy giving back to their community.
Building careers around things that matter. It's not just about money, prestige, or the "bottom line." Being a public servant means working hard for a noble purpose and being dedicated to your daily work of serving citizens.
Is it for you? Do you want to serve others? Will you set aside personal interests for the sake of the public? Do you enjoy the challenge of navigating complex problems or systems? If so, come work with us!
Public servants are expected to do the right thing – even when it’s not easy. They uphold the highest professional and ethical standards because they understand the high expectations the public has for their work.
Each public servant takes an Oath of Employment. Each time they take the Oath, they're reminded of the the duties, powers and trusts that are placed in public servants.
As part of the Oath, public servants swear not just to do their job but to:
- Serve ethically and with integrity, loyalty, impartiality, and objectivity
- Put the interests of the public and the public service ahead of their own personal interests
- Maintain and enhance the public’s trust and confidence in the public service
These commitments make sure that our actions are impartial, objective and beyond reproach.
In situations where the standards are not being met, staff are encouraged to talk to their manager, talk to an ethics advisor about inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, or make a public interest disclosure about serious wrongdoing.
"They are committed to the highest degrees of integrity. They are committed to deliver the best administration possible. They are committed to fair and transparent governance, to delivering high quality services, to a stewardship of government funds that will maximize cost-effectiveness and for accountability. Public servants are committed to the improvement of the policy-making and service delivery abilities of the state.
Public servants work in different jobs across different ministries. But they all use the same values as the basis for their decisions, their actions, and how they measure results.
It's all about integrity. Integrity is at the heart of our corporate values. It's vital to building trust. The public's trust in government is based on how they feel when they use government services, programs or policies.
The people of B.C. trust public servants to keep the highways safe, to steward natural resources, to look after vulnerable populations, among many other things – and they expect them to do it well. Being recognized as the face of the B.C. public service, public servants do their best to act with integrity in both their professional and personal lives.
Integrity helps employees and leaders to trust each other in supporting a common goal. This means they're open, honest and flexible. They take risks together and are willing to have constructive or challenging conversations.
"British Columbians are fortunate to have such a skilled and professional team, working night and day to provide thoughtful policy guidance, to draft emergency legislation, and to design and implement extensive new programs on an urgent basis; all the while adjusting to radically altered working conditions and maintaining the regular services upon which British Columbians rely.
The work that you do behind the scenes may not always be understood by those who do not walk in your shoes, but you can take great pride in knowing that you provide the steadying rudder by which we will navigate the unparalleled social and economic challenges we now confront.
I see how hard you are working to maintain the stability of our Province, to embrace innovation, and to protect the health and well-being of British Columbians. As the Queen’s representative and on behalf of all British Columbians, I thank you for your tireless work and for dedicating your professional careers to serving the public interest."
– A message from the Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable Janet Austin, to public servants during the COVID-19 pandemic