Our approach suggests that people need help in thinking through what it is that public office demands of them, especially when there are under a range of competing pressures and expectations. The Kenyan constitution's Chapter 6 indicates the range of principles that people in public office are meant to be responsive to, but it is not always clear how to balance competing claims and values. In the scenarios collected here, we have drawn on the experiences of Kenyan participants in our workshops to identify a number of cases where there are principles at stake in how someone behaves, but where it is not always easy to see what those principles dictate.
One advantage of the scenarios is that they can be developed with an audience in ways that test people's different intuitions and explore how changes in the scenarios might make a difference to what they see as the appropriate conduct. One common reaction that we have had to the scenarios was that people in the public sector started by looking for a rule to follow.
Our aim in the scenarios has been to make that route difficult, and to encourage people to think about the principles underlying rules and to consider the bases on which professional and political judgements might legitimately be made. The aim is to make cases hard so as to encourage reflection on the guidance that might be provided by the principles found in Chapter 6 of the constitution, and help support the development of critical judgement.
These scenarios are illustrative. While we have found them very useful in generating discussion and reflection in our Kenyan audiences, our sense is that it is by developing scenarios for themselves, that draw on their experience, that people really begin to feel the challenges of the situations that many public officials face; and it is in discussing these scenarios with people in similar positions that people begin to generate more robust, collective, and critical judgements about how it is that public officials should behave when faced with some of the pressures referred to in the scenarios.
The people we have worked with have come mainly from the middle ranks of the Kenyan public service - and the mantra in a lot of work is that the fish rots from the head. In contrast, our position is that strengthening this group and developing a more collective ethos within the public service is as much a part of the process of developing good government as addressing those in very senior administrative roles and those in the political system.
- Scenario 1 Leadership
- Scenario 2- Impartiality
- Scenario 3- Objectivity
- Scenario 4- Accountability
- Scenario 5- Selflessness
- Scenario 6 Honesty
- Scenario 7 Openness
- Scenario 8 What principles does this case raise?
- Scenario 9 What should be done?
- Scenario 10 The Procurement Process
- Scenario 11 The Deaf School Dilemma
- Scenario 12 The Audit Team
- Scenario 13 AI and Banking