The Seven Principles of Public Life outline the ethical standards that working in the public sector requires.

The Principles were first set out in the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s first report by Lord Nolan in 1995, and they are included in a range of Codes of Conduct across public life and are often referred to as the “Nolan Principles.”


“Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.”


“Holders of public office should act and take decisions openly and transparently. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.”


“Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.”


“Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.”


“Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.”


“Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.”


“Holders of public office should be truthful.”