TSC Releases a Code of Conduct For Secretariat
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC)has for the first time developed a Code of Conduct’ and Ethics for its Secretariat which has far-reaching implications on the professional life of staff working at the state agency.
The tool forwarded to all its regional officers for onward transmission to staff within their jurisdictions had asked the employees to compile and submit their feedback on the document before May 23,2022 before its roll out.
“The Commission has developed the TSC Code of Conduct and Ethics for Secretariat Staff, a tool that articulates the professional conduct and values that the Commission wishes to foster in its employees. You are required to share the document with the Staff under your jurisdiction, compile and submit feedback by May 23, 2022,” reads one of the Memos sent to County Directors seen by Education News.
The Code which mirrors the Teachers’ Code of Conduct and regulations which has been implemented over the years, will apply to all TSC Secretariat Staff at the headquarters and those serving in counties.
The Code if rolled out will bar its officers from being in a position in which their personal interests conflict with their duties and are now required to submit an initial declaration of income, assets and liabilities within 30 days after employment, make a final declaration within 30 days upon leaving employment.
The document titled Code of Conduct and Ethics for Secretariat Staff (2018) also requires staff to make bi-annual declarations of their wealth during their employment period.
The document states that TSC employees are barred from participating in any tendering process where their personal interests conflict with their duties and are required to refrain from awarding tenders to themselves, spouses, relatives, business associates or be involved in bid-rigging
The new document, if rolled out, will now require the TSC staff to disqualify themselves from any matter where their impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
This includes instances in which an officer has personal bias, prejudice or interest over the subject matter; their family or a close connection has a financial or any other interest that could substantially affect the outcome of the matter in issue; or their spouses or a person related to either of them or the spouses of such a person or a friend or a business associate is a party to the matter in issue.
“If any officer is present at a meeting or any committee at which any matter is the subject of consideration and in which matter the person, the person’s spouse, relative or business associate is directly or indirectly interested in a private capacity, that person shall as soon as is practicable after the commencement of the meeting, declare such interest and shall not take part in any consideration, discussion or proceedings touching on the matter in question,” reads the document.
The Code also requires the staff to ensure their private and public conduct upholds the dignity and integrity of a public office through maintaining professionalism and carry out their duties with integrity.
The officers will also be required to protect children including those with special needs from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, and all forms of violence, discrimination, inhuman treatment, corporal punishment and exposure to hazardous or exploitative labour.
“In the performance of his or her duty, an officer shall not practice nepotism, favouritism, tribalism, cronyism, religious bias or engage in corrupt or unethical practices,”reads the Code.
The Code further requires the TSC staff to respect and uphold the personal rights and freedoms of all persons as guaranteed in Chapter Four of the Country’s constitutions and in particular to avoid discrimination directly or indirectly against any person on any ground including race, sex, pregnancy, marital and health status, ethnic or social origin, color, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language or birth.
Further, the TSC Staff will be required to uphold public trust since their position is of public trust and the authority and responsibility vested in their office shall be exercised in the best interest of the members of the public; and further respect and abide by the Constitution and the law through carrying out their duties in accordance with the law.
The standards the officers are required to maintain while performing their daily duties include maintaining of professional competencies, adhering to the provisions of the Commission Human Resource Manual; maintaining patience, dignity and courtesy to all stakeholders with whom the officer deals with in an official capacity; and observing prompt, efficient, lawful, reasonable and procedural fairness in the execution of responsibilities.
Other standards include demonstrating honesty and impartiality in the conduct of public affairs, non-engagement in activities that amount to abuse of office, observing accuracy and honesty in representation of information to the public, non-engagement in wrongful conduct in furtherance of personal benefit, prudent management of public resources, and maintaining of proper official records.
Regarding confidentiality, the Code requires the Officers to ensure confidential information or documents entrusted to their care are adequately protected from improper or inadvertent disclosure and follow the Commission’s regulations, procedures and directives for safeguarding information and documents.
Other requirements that the TSC officers will require to comply with include care of public and institutional property, maintaining political
neutrality at all time; not accepting or soliciting gifts, hospitality or other benefits from person who has an interest that may be achieved by carrying out of the officer’s duties, carries on regulated activities, with respect to which the officer’s organization has a role or has a contractual or legal relationship with officer’s organization.
They will also be required to give honest, accurate and impartial professional advice without fear or favour; observing prescribed regulations in overseeing the national examinations; not engaging in any sexual activity with a learner regardless of whether the learner consents or make request to; not harassing fellow employees or members of the public sexually, persistently making requests or exerts pressure for sexual activity or favour which they know is unwelcome or make intentional or careless physical contact that is sexual in nature.
The officers will also be required to treat fellow employees and the public with dignity, courtesy and respect by avoiding behavior that is unbecoming abusive, belittling or threatening to fellow employees or any member of the public and not bullying or perpetrating offensive behavior which is cruel, malicious or humiliating and is intended to undermine a fellow employee or a member of the public; ensuring their working stations are free of pornography and pornographic materials.
Further, the TSC officers shall not be allowed to canvass or lobby, either directly or indirectly for any favours relating to employment with the Commission; will also be required to participate in civil and charitable activities.