The murky waters of government employment and political neutrality

The Government of Canada has a generally well-written Values and Ethics Code, which public servants must abide by. With every passing year, a particular element of this Code has become increasingly challenging to explain with absolute clarity and even more challenging to enforce, save for the most obvious cases.  I’m referring specifically to:

  • Section 1 – Respect for democracy – Expected Behaviour 1.1 – Respecting the rule of law and carrying out their duties in accordance with legislation, policies and directives in a non-partisan and impartial manner.
  • Section 3 – Integrity – Expected Behaviour 3.1Acting at all times with integrity and in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny, an obligation that may not be fully satisfied by simply acting within the law.

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A quick note on social media governance

There are some general best practices and trends that I’m noticing are emerging in modern “social” organizations. Here are some governance recommendations based on these “best practices”:

  • Social media strategy should fall under the portfolio of marketing , communications or equivalent
  • Official social media engagement should fall under client services, customer service, or equivalent.
  • Social media content should come from the various content experts in the organization
  • Social media guidelines should be created by the “strategy” team and approved by HR and Legal
  • Unofficial social media participation can come from anybody at any time. Nobody “owns” it. Need to follow guidelines, which are merely reminders as opposed to restrictions. Note: It is crucial that your organization positions them that way as well.

I’d be curious to hear thoughts from other consultants and/or practitioners. What are you noticing?