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Code of Institutional Ethics for Officials of the National Audit Office of Lithuania

 

APPROVED

by the order No. V-117

of the Auditor General

of the Republic of Lithuania

28 April, 2017

 

CODE OF INSTITUTIONAL ETHICS OF

THE NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

1. The Code of Institutional Ethics of the National Audit Office of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the Code) establishes the values of institutional ethics, behaviour representing these values (principles of ethics) and general requirements for officials, working in  the National Audit Office, civil servants and staff employees of the National Audit Office working under the contract of employment (hereinafter referred to as employees), as well as the special requirements for officers of the National Audit Office in the discharge of their duties at the National Audit Office and outside their work at the National Audit Office.

2. The Code is based on the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the following Laws of the Republic of Lithuania: the Law on the National Audit Office of Lithuania, the Law on Civil Service, the Law on Public Administration, the Law on the Adjustment of Public and Private Interests in Civil Service, as well as the Rules of Ethical Conduct for Civil Servants approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, the 30th INTOSAI (International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions) Code of Ethics, and other legislation considering the values of the National Audit Office.

3. The objectives of this Code are as follows:

3.1. To regulate values of institutional ethics, the general requirements of institutional ethics for the employees and the special requirements of professional ethics to be observed by officers of the National Audit Office in the discharge of the functions laid down in legislation and outside their work at the National Audit Office;

3.2. To raise awareness among employees that their behaviour must be based not only on the requirements of the Code but also on the generally accepted standards of morality;

3.3. To pursue that employees serve the society and the state and carry out their duties for selfless purposes;

3.4. To help employees avoid conflicts with the staff of the audited entity;

3.5. To help regulate the relations between employees.

4. Definitions used in the Code:

4.1. Employee – the public official (Auditor General and his Deputy Auditors General), the officer of the National Audit Office, the civil servant, the staff employee working under the contract of employment.

4.2. Discrediting – any act (or omission) which undermines the authority of the National Audit Office, destroys trust and confidence in it, and compromises it.

4.3. Officers of the National Audit Office – civil servants who carry out and participates in the public audit and are on oath to the Republic of Lithuania, and have public or internal administrative powers in respect to subordinate or functionally independent entities.

Other terms used in the Code correspond to the ones used in laws and other legislation of the Republic of Lithuania.

II. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS OF INSTITUTIONAL ETHICS

5. The employee shall:

5.1. Follow the values of institutional ethics set out in the 30th INTOSAI Code of Ethics and this Code as well as the requirements and the generally accepted standards of morality;

5.2. Discharge his/her duties and fulfil the requirements set out in the Law on National Audit Office, the Law on Public Service, the Labour Code of the Republic of Lithuania, and other legislation that regulates his/her activities, beyond reproach and responsibly;

5.3. Behave selflessly and in such a way as to be useful to society and the state;

5.4. Avoid conflict of public and private interests, behave in such a way as to avoid the appearance of such a conflict, observe the provisions of the Law on the Adjustment of Public and Private Interests in the Civil Service and the provisions of legislation related to the implementation of the said Law;

5.5. Inform immediately the head of the structural unit and the Deputy Auditor General, who coordinates and controls the activities of the structural unit, about the emergence of a conflict of public and private interests and refrain from participation in the further procedure for the preparation, consideration and adoption of the decision;

5.6. Carry out preliminary written recommendations which stipulate from which actions and preparation of decisions, considerations or adoption of procedures, whatever they are called (meeting, informal consultation, presentation of a question, etc.), that might lead to conflicts of interest the employee must withdraw and what measures he/she has to take to ensure that his/her official activities are carried out in accordance with the requirements of the  Law on the Adjustment of Public and Private Interests in Civil Service;

5.7. After the circumstances these recommendations stipulate are gone, shall inform the persons indicated therein promptly in writing;

5.8. Refrain from influencing other employees regarding their work, unless otherwise provided by laws or other legal acts;

5.9. Refrain from violating human rights and dignity, respect the persons and institutions they communicate with, treat all persons equally, regardless of their nationality, social background and status, sex, racial or ethnic origin, language, age, religious beliefs, political opinions, sexual or other attitudes;

5.10. In the discharge of his/her duties and outside working hours, refrain from discrediting the authority of the institution by his/her conduct, set an example for others, follow the recommendations for a dress code at the National Audit Office;

5.11. Immediately inform the head of the structural unit and the person responsible for controlling the declaration of private interests about the cases of detention, court sentences against him/her, the opening of bankruptcy proceedings;

5.12. Refrain from abusing alcohol, refrain from using psychotropic or narcotic substances not for medical purposes;

5.13. Refrain from using property of the state, state bodies and institutions in breach of the law;

5.14. Refrain from abusing his/her duties or using documents that verify his/her position and powers, and requisites of the National Audit Office in order to influence persons outside his/her control to make a decision to their advantage;

5.15. Refrain from public comments (including mass media, websites, social networks) on the institution, its activities, other employees of the National Audit Office, his/her own work that could form a negative opinion of the public or its members about the institution, as well as activities of other state institutions and bodies without prior the order from the management of the institution.

III. GENERAL VALUES OF THE INSTITUTIONAL ETHICS

Integrity

6. Integrity is considered as a valuable measure of a person's behaviour, the ability to consciously evaluate and regulate his/her behaviour in accordance with moral standards, to understand the moral value of his/her actions and the responsibility for them.

In observing this value , the employee shall:

6.1.  Show a good example and behave impeccably, reliably and benevolently;

6.2.  Follow the strategy and values set by the institution in the discharge of his/her duties;

6.3.  Discharge duties and use powers, information and resources solely in the public interest, not use their duties in order to obtain privileges and benefits for themselves or others;

6.4. Know who to consult with on issues of institutional ethics;

6.5. Attend training, meetings and events for the development of institutional ethics;

6.6. Know the circumstances that may affect his/her integrity while working in the institution and avoid such circumstances.

These circumstances may be related to:

6.6.1. Personal, financial or other interests or relationships that may conflict with the interests of the institution;

6.6.2. Abuse of power for personal benefit;

6.6.3. Engagement in political activities, participation in lobbying activities;

6.6.4. The possibility to access classified information;

6.6.5. The possibility to access and use the resources of the institution;

6.6.6. Other factors.

Independence and impartiality

7. Independence is a situation in which an employee can discharge activities without any influence that could affect and compromise professional judgment, can act principally and maintain objectivity and professional scepticism.

8. Objectivity is considered as the approach by which the employee is capable of acting impartially and presenting or evaluating things on the basis of facts rather than feelings and interests, without trusting the decision to others.

9. An employee must avoid threats to independence and objectivity related to political views, leadership, self-control, financial or other personal interests, relationships with others and their influence.

In observing this  value , the employee shall:

9.1. Remain politically neutral and refrain from public expression of their political beliefs and from agitation, to identify situations when personal political views may undermine its independence or objectivity, or when its political views and actions may endanger the reputation of the institution and trust in its activities;

9.2. Avoid circumstances when private interests could influence decision making or make such an impression to the public;

9.3. Refuse gifts or benefits, related to his/her position, that could affect his/her independence and impartiality;

9.4. Inform the head of the structural unit and the Deputy Auditor General, who coordinates and controls the activities of the structural unit, about all previously existing or existing relations and situations that may endanger its independence or impartiality.

Competence

10. Competence is considered as a set of knowledge, skills and attitudes in a given field, proven ability to perform tasks, actions in accordance with agreed requirements.

In observing this value , the employee shall:

10.1. Perform duties in accordance with the provisions of legal acts, recommendations, standards, contracts or agreements, established or agreed terms and good practices of public audit;

10.2. Understand the functions and tasks performed;

10.3. Act thoroughly, carefully, in accordance with the requirements of the task and given authorization;

10.4. Maintain, develop and expand his/her knowledge and skills in order to keep up with the development of his/her professional environment and optimally discharge his/her duties, gain new knowledge and skills;

10.5. Be able to work in various situations depending on work or task requirements;

10.6. Inform the head of the structural unit if the experience is not appropriate or sufficient to perform a specific task.

Professionalism

11. Professionalism is considered to be such an action that would allow a third party, which has the knowledge and relevant information, to conclude that the work meets the applicable legislation and standards.

In observing this value , the employee shall:

11.1. Comply with the provisions of laws, other legal acts, agreements, as well as acceptable behaviour that are in conformity with the values of the institution, which are obligatory in the working environment and outside it;

11.2. Understand and consider the impact of his/her actions on the trust of the institution and take into account the expectations of other persons (colleagues, family members, friends, audited entity, media, etc.) regarding his/her behaviour in the work environment and in private life;

11.3. Refrain from abusing his/her duties, be careful and attentive in his/her duties and when communicating with other persons that his actions or expression of opinion do not compromise the institution and do not undermine its authority (including the usage of social media);

11.4. Cooperate within the institution, share the knowledge and information; 11.5. Avoid actions that, although legally permitted, do not comply with a standard of professional ethical behavior.

Confidentiality and transparency

12. Confidentiality is considered to be the obligation to ensure the use of information, obtained in the course of performing duties, only for the purposes of work (service).

In observing this value , the employee shall:

12.1. Know the responsibilities of the institution and legal regulation regarding the confidentiality and transparency;

12.2. Refrain from disclosing any information obtained in the discharge of his/her duties without proper and specific permission, except the cases when he/she has a statutory or professional right or obligation to do so, preserve the secrets of state and service;

12.3. Refrain from using and deny access to any information that was obtain during his/her duties to meet the needs of his/her own, close persons  or third parties;

12.4. Maintain professional confidentiality during and after the employment or service;

12.5. Ensure the confidentiality of information when discussing work with other employees and in private life: in the family, in social or other environments, including social media, assess the risk of accidental disclosure;

12.6. Ensure the protection of electronic data devices (laptops and portable data carriers) and the confidentiality of passwords.

IV. SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR OFFICERS OF THE NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE

13. In carrying out and participating in a public audit officers of the National Audit Office shall:

13.1. Follow the oath he/she is under;

13.2. Demonstrate impeccable conduct with the staff of audited entities, refrain from giving rise to distrust, avoid any relations with the staff of audited entity that may lead to conflict of interest or create a visibility of conflict of interest;

13.3. Be equally attentive and demanding to all persons throughout the audit process; listen to the arguments of all parties in conflict situations and seek an objective judgment; do not have personal prejudice, ensure that decisions taken are lawful, and have no selfish motives;

13.4. Not participate in the decision-making process of the management of the audited entity;

13.5. Not audit his/her own work;

13.6. Use the information about the audited entity, which was collected during public audit, only for preparing the public audit report and public audit conclusion and performing other tasks;

13.7. Examine the substance of audits, avoid haste and superficiality, also avoid delay in the audit process, comply with agreed terms;

13.8. Base the conclusions, recommendations and decisions only on relevant and reliable evidence collected in accordance with the provisions of relevant legal acts, refrain from intentionally distorting information in public audit documentation;

13.9. Not publish data on public audit until the public audit report has been signed.

14. Officers of the National Audit Office shall not carry out a public audit and participate in a public audit if he/she:

14.1. Has blood or marriage relationship with the manager, head of the administration, chief financial officer (accountant), project implementor , or members of the council or board of the audited entity;

14.2.Used to be an employee of the audited entity and less than one year has passed since the end of the employment relationship; as an employee of the audited entity were engaged in and responsible for activity during the period covered by the scope of the audit;

14.3. Is a shareholder of the audited entity, or if less than one year has passed since the transfer of shares;

14.4. Has received a loan from the audited entity or has other financial obligations to the audited entity;

14.5. Is affected by other conditions that may influence his/her independence.

15.Upon the occurrence of the circumstances referred to in the paragraph 14, the officer of the National Audit Office shall refuse to carry out an assignment to perform or participate in a public  audit, notifying the head of the structural unit and a Deputy Auditor General, who coordinates and controls the structural unit, thereof in writing.

V. RELATIONS BETWEEN EMPLOYEES

16. Relations between employees shall be based on politeness, honesty, respect, tolerance, trust and on active assistance.

17. Employees shall show solidarity with their colleagues, protect them from undue criticism and warn them about bad influence.

18. Employees shall refrain from analysing actions performed by their colleagues or assessing competence of other colleagues in public.

VI. FINAL PROVISIONS

19. Employee shall not execute assignments of their immediate superior if the assignment forces them to break the law, other legislation,  International Standards on Auditing, International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions or  this Code. The employee shall inform the head of the structural unit and also notify the Auditor General or a Deputy Auditor General, who coordinates and controls the structural unit, thereof in writing.

20. The employee  shall inform the Auditor General and Official Ethics Commission of the National Audit Office about the fact known to him/her that other employee has breached the provisions of the Code, while discharging his/her duties in the institution, when he/she has reasonable grounds for suspicion of a possible breach of the provisions of the Code. The employee who has reported a breach of the Code is guaranteed that an unfair or discriminatory behaviour towards him/her will not be tolerated and the confidentiality of his/her identity will be ensured upon request.

21. All the employees shall acquaint themselves with the Code and commit to follow it. (sample form of the Commitment is attached hereto)

22. Breaches of institutional ethics shall be investigated in the procedure laid down by the Auditor General.

23. In cases when the employee's  conduct is not governed by this Code, he/she shall comply with the ethical standards set out in other legislation as well as generally accepted standards of morality.

_______________________________

 

Responsible for the information Legal and Personnel Department
Last updated on 28 November 2017

National Audit Office of Lithuania

Pamėnkalnio St 27, LT-01113 Vilnius, Phone: + 370 5 266 6793, + 370 5 266 6752, Email: nao@vkontrole.lt.