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Public Service (values And Principles) Act

Why was this Act enacted?

To implement the provisions of Article 232 of the Constitution which deals with the values and principles of public service.


What are the Objectives of the Act? (Section 3)

This Act is meant to provide for—

  1. a general code on the values and principles of public service;
  2. public participation in the promotion of the values and principles of, and policy making by, the public service; and
  3. reporting on the status of the promotion of values and principles of public service.


Who does the Act apply to (section 4)

This Act applies to the public service including —

  1. all State organs in the national and county governments. State Organs arecommissions, offices, agencies or other bodies established under the Constitution (Article 260 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010).
  2. all State corporations, being bodies corporate which are established under an Act of Parliament. (List of State Corporations http://www.scac.go.ke/index.php#)
  • Examples of the commissions include —
    • the Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission;
    • the National Land Commission;
    • the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission;
    • the Parliamentary Service Commission;
    • the Judicial Service Commission;
    • the Commission on Revenue Allocation;
    • the Public Service Commission;
    • the Salaries and Remuneration Commission;
    • the Teachers Service Commission; and
    • the National Police Service Commission.


Who is a public officer?

“public officer” means:

  • President
  • Deputy President
  • Cabinet Secretaries
  • Members of Parliament
  • Judges and Magistrates
  • Members of Commissions to which Chapter Fifteen (Commission & Independent Offices) applies
  • Holder of an Independent Office (Auditor General & Controller of Budget)
  • Members of County Assembly, Governor or Deputy Governor of a County, or other Member of the Executive Committee of a County Government
  • Attorney-General
  • Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Secretary to the Cabinet
  • Principal Secretaries
  • Chief of the Kenya Defense Force
  • Commanders of the Kenya Defense Forces
  • Director-General of the National Intelligence Service
  • Inspector – General, and the Deputy Inspectors – General, of the National Police Service
  • Any person who holds an office in the national government, a county government or the public service, and whose salary and benefits are payable directly from the Consolidated Fund or directly out of money provided by Parliament (a public office);


What are the standards of professional ethics that a public officer should observe?

Section 5

  • Every public officer shall maintain high, standards of professional ethics.
  • A public officer maintains high standards of professional ethics if that public officer—
  1. is honest;
  2. displays high standards of integrity in that officer's dealings;
  3. is transparent when executing that officer's functions;
  4. can account for that officer's actions;
  5. is respectful towards others;
  6. is objective;
  7. is patriotic; and
  8. observes the rule of law.


What is a professional association?

  • A professional association is a non-profit organization seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession, and the public interest; Examples include the Law Society of Kenya, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya.


What if the public officer is a member of a professional association? (Section 5)

  • A public officer may also be a member of a professional association apart from being a public officer. Public officers who are also members of professional association must observe the ethics, standards and values of both the Public Service and the Professional Association they belong to. This includes registration and continuous professional development. They can be disciplined for misconduct both as a public officer and separately under the provisions of their respective Professional Association.
  • Where necessary, the public service, a public institution or an authorized officer may require a professional association to inform the public service, public institution or authorized officer whether or not a professional in the public service has committed an act of professional misconduct.

How should Public Officers use Public Resources? (Section 6)

A public officer shall use public resources in an efficient, effective and efficient manner.


When can it be said that Public Resources have not been properly used?

A public officer fails to use public resources in an efficient, effective and economic manner if, in the process of their usage—

  1. the public officer has used the public resources in a manner that is not prudent;
  2. there is unreasonable loss;
  3. there is deliberate destruction; or
  4. the effect is to reduce the effectiveness of the public service.


How should Public Services be provided? (Section 7)


The public service shall ensure that public services are provided—

  1. promptly;
  2. effectively;
  3. impartially; and

2)             Every public institution shall—

  1. develop standards for the responsive, prompt, effective, impartial and equitable provision of services;
  2. facilitate the introduction of modern and innovative procedures, technologies and systems for the delivery of its services;
  3. simplify its procedures and ease formalities related to access and delivery of its services;
  4. ensure the adaptability of public services to the needs of the public;
  5. ensure that its services are delivered closer to the users of the services; and
  6. develop mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of public service delivery.


Is Mwananchi entitled to timely, accurate information? (Section 8)

(1) A public officer shall not—

(a) give information that the public officer knows or ought to know to be inaccurate; or

 (b) unduly delay the provision of any information where required to provide that information.

(2) The public service, a public institution or, where permitted, an authorized officer shall develop guidelines for the provision to the public of timely and accurate information, and the promotion of transparency and accountability.

(3) For the purposes of this section, "undue delay" includes a failure by a public officer to provide information within the time required in accordance with the guidelines of the public institution in which he or she serves.


Are Public Officers accountable for their for administrative acts (Section 9)

  • Every public officer shall be accountable for his or her administrative acts.
  • The public service, a public institution or an authorized officer shall ensure the accountability of a public officer by—

(a) keeping an accurate record of administrative acts of public servants in each public institution;

(b) requiring every public officer to maintain an accurate record of their administrative acts;

(c) maintaining a record of relevant documents prepared by a public officer; and

(d) establishing a mechanism to address complaints arising out of the administrative acts of a public officer.

Fair Appointment and Promotion of Public Officers (Section 10)

  • The public service, a public institution or an authorized officer shall ensure that public officers are appointed and promoted on basis of fair competition and merit.
  • The public service may appoint or promote public officers without undue reliance on fair competition or merit if—
  1. a community in Kenya is not adequately represented in appointments to or promotions in the public service or in a public institution;
  2. the balance of gender in the public service or in a public institution is biased towards one gender;
  3. an ethnic group is disproportionately represented in the public service or in a public institution; or
  4. persons with disabilities are not adequately represented in the public service or in a public institution.
  • Each public institution or each authorized officer shall develop a system for the provision of relevant information that promotes fairness and merit in appointments and promotions.

Public participation (section 11)

The public service shall facilitate public participation and involvement in the promotion of values and principles of public service.

In what ways can the public participate? (Section 11)

Public participation and involvement may be through—

(a) citizens' fora;

(b) the village councils which comprises of a village administrator and between 3 – 5 village elders competitively appointed with the County Assembly’s approval. (section 53 of the County Governments Act, 2012 (No. 17 of 2012);

(c) elected leaders such as members of the County Assembly, National Assembly, Senate and such other elective positions.

  • Citizens' fora means the different forums for citizens organized for purposes of participatingin its governance and  includes: -
  • faith-based organizations or groups;
  • boards of management of learning institutions, however organized
  • welfare associations;
  • residents' associations;
  • market-users' committees;
  • self-help groups; and
  • such other registered or unregistered groups organized at the sub county level.


Aside from the provisions of section 11 of this Act, the rights and duties of residents specified in the Second Schedule to the Urban Areas and Cities Act, 2011, are also applicable. These are provisions on the rights of and participation by residents in affairs of their city or urban area.


Can Mwananchi Participate in Public Policy Making? (section 12)

The public service is required to develop guidelines for the involvement of the people in policy-making.

 The guidelines developed should ensure that the public is given—

  • adequate opportunity to review a draft policy;
  • adequate opportunity to make comments on a draft Policy;
  • an opportunity to be heard by the makers of a policy; and
  • notification of the final draft of the policy and whether or not it incorporates their views.


Complaints Procedure (section 13)

Who can you report a complain to?

  • Where a person alleges the violation of the values and principles of public service by a public officer, that person may complain to—
  1. the supervisor of that public officer;
  2. the head of the department or institution in which that public officer serves;
  3. the department in charge of public complaints of the relevant service Commission;
  4. the department in charge of public complaints of the relevant commission; or
  5. the person in charge of the Values and Principles Committee of the public institution, where established.


How is a complaint made? (Section 13 (2))

A person who makes a complaint under this section against a public officer may do so:

  • In person
  • Through a relative or personal representative
  • Through a legal representative
  • Through a citizen’s forum
  • Through a village council
  • Through the person’s member of County Assembly
  • Through the person’s member of Parliament


What happens when a complaint is made?

Where a person makes a complaint to a service Commission, that service Commission shall—

  1. receive and record in a register the details of the complaint;
  2. investigate and determine the complaint expeditiously but in any case, in not more than three months from the date of receipt of the complaint; and
  3. set down the reasons for its determination in writing and provide it to the complainant, the public officer concerned and to that public officer's supervisor, head of department or head of the institution.


What happens if your complaint is not acted on?

If after three months a service commission has not investigated and determined a complaint, the officer responsible for handling the complaint shall give the complainant satisfactory reasons, in writing, for noncompliance.

Appropriate disciplinary action shall be taken against any officer who is found to have unreasonably delayed in handling a complaint made to the service commission.

A person aggrieved by the decision of a service Commission may seek judicial redress by going to Court.


How are complaints recorded? (section 14)

Each service Commission shall keep and maintain a register of complaints made against public officers and shall, upon request by a complainant, allow the complainant to inspect the register to verify details relating to his or her complaint.


Can you also give Compliments for good service? (Section 15)

  • Where a person considers the quality of public service offered by a public officer to be exemplary, outstanding, or innovative, that person may inform the public officer's supervisor or head of the institution.
  • Each public institution shall make guidelines to provide for the receiving, recording of information, recognizing, commending and rewarding public officers who offer exemplary, outstanding or innovative services or who perform their duties exceptionally well


Are the Values and Principles of the Public Service Monitored? (section 16)

Once in every year, each service Commission shall prepare a report on the status of the promotion of the values and principles of public service. The report is presented to the President and Parliament, and the Governor and county assembly, where relevant, by 31st December of each year.

The report shall provide information on—

(a) the measures taken to promote the values and principles of public service;

(b) the progress achieved in the promotion of values and principles of public service;

(c) the challenges faced in the promotion of values and principles of public service;

(d) any recommendations for the progressive realization of values and principles of public service; and

(e) any other matter that may be relevant to the realization of the values and principles of public service.

How can each Service Commission implement the provisions of this Act? (Section17)

Each service Commission may make regulations for the better carrying into effect of this Act

including regulations regarding—

  • high standards of professional ethics;
  • determination of any disciplinary matter in relation to a violation of a value or principle under this Act;
  • the responsive, prompt, effective, impartial or equitable of public services;
  • the efficient, effective and economic use of public resources;
  • transparency;
  • the provision to the public of timely and accurate information;
  • public participation;
  • accountability of public officers;
  • the application of fair competition or merit in appointments or promotions;
  • service delivery;
  • performance management;
  • access to information by the public; and
  • the provision of adequate and equal training opportunities for training.

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