Division of General Counsel, Governance and Compliance

General guidance: Principles of Public Life

The University is committed to probity and good conduct in carrying out its business, in accordance with the "seven principles of public life” (selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership). These pages seek to integrate and signpost the related policies that support this commitment. University staff are expected to be vigilant for behaviours that contravene these policies, and to appreciate the need to avoid and resist involvement in any situation that might create the appearance or perception of impropriety. If in doubt, staff should apply the transparency test, i.e. would they be comfortable with the action or behaviour in question being subjected to public scrutiny.


Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.  They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.


Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.


In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.


Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.


Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take.  They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.


Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.


Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.