Conflict of interests

From Encyklopedia Administracji Publicznej

CONFLICT OF INTERESTS – the problem of conflict of public interest and private interest is one that is difficult to define, although many attempts are made to determine its essence. A hint can be found in the Article 13 of the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of May 11, 2000, which perceives the origin of conflict of interest in a situation when the “private interest of a public official influences, or appears to influence, the impartial and objective performance of his or her official duties.” The definition of a private person’s interest in a public function refers to any benefit to him/her, to the family, relatives, friends and people or organisations with whom he/she has economic or political contacts. The main responsibility for determining whether or not a conflict of interest has occurred lies with a person performing public function and his/her responsibility is expressed in the awareness of current or potential conflicts of interest, taking up measures to avoid such conflict, communicating to the supervisor as soon as possible the occurrence of a conflict, finally, “to comply with any final decision to withdraw from such a situation causing the conflict.” Conflict of interest in public administration concerns recruitment and employment in public administration, receiving gifts, political activity, illegal lobbying, nepotism, links to private sector organisations and NGOs, access to public information, the use of official positions for non-official purposes, financial interests and conflicts between loyalty to the office and loyalty to the political party that directed that person to the particular position. Recognizing and analysing the relationship between public administration and interest groups has allowed to distinguish in political science an approach called the policy network. This term refers to the relationship of entities, which aims to promote specific programmatic solutions, provoked by both parties and bringing them real benefits. The links between the two parties are fixed, asymmetric and symbiotic, where public agencies, for understandable reasons, have more influence and access to resources than the interest groups. Max Weber noted that the growth of the government and the public sector resulted, among others, from the demands the interest groups put on the government [ J. Itrich-Drabarek ].

Literature: K. Będuch et al., Przegląd zagranicznych rozwiązań w dziedzinie etyki w administracji publicznej [Review of foreign solutions in the field of ethics in public administration], [in:] Etyczne aspekty działalności samorządu terytorialnego [Ethical aspects of local government’s activity], ed. J. Filek, Kraków 2004 ■ R. Herbut, Administracja publiczna – modele, funkcja, struktura [Public administration – models, function, structure], [in:] Administracja i polityka. Wprowadzenie [Administration and politics. Introduction], ed. A. Ferens, I. Macek, Wrocław 1999. ■ J. Itrich-Drabarek, The Civil Service in Poland – Theory and Experience, Frankfurt am Main 2015.