All central government employees have to act objectively and impartially. You must therefore be attentive to conflicts of interest that may arise. It contributes to maintaining confidence in the authorities and in the central government.
Courts of law, administrative authorities and others performing public administration functions shall pay regard in their work to the equality of all before the law and shall observe objectivity and impartiality.- Chapter 1, Article 9 of the Instrument of Government
You have to be factual and impartial in all your activities
The objectivity principle means that government authorities are obliged to act in a factual and impartial way at all times. This objectivity must also characterise matters outside decision making as such.
The objectivity principle can also be interpreted as a prohibition. As a central government employee, you are prohibited from looking to interests other than those you are set to uphold. You are also prohibited from making decisions on grounds other than those set out in the rules in the case in question.
At a general level this is fairly simple. As someone working in a government authority, you are simply not allowed to take irrelevant factors into account when you make a decision. For instance, you must not allow friendships, family ties or personal views to influence you. In practice this gets more complicated with all the situations, behaviours and phenomena that can be linked to the requirements of the principle of objectivity. Situations where objectivity becomes complex include situations where there may be conflict of interest, questions concerning how authorities handle employees’ secondary occupations and questions concerning how you, as a central government employee, behave when interacting with members of the public.
The requirement for objectivity is linked to the rule of law
Being objective is about you limiting what a decision can be based on. It is also about treating everyone the same way and about agencies acting according to their mandated tasks.
The objectivity requirement is linked to the requirement under the rule of law for support in the regulatory framework. This is because laws and rules often give you some scope for making assessments. For example, certain types of permits or licences may only be awarded suitable applicants, but the rules often only say part of what constitutes such suitability. A stable financial situation may, for instance, be required. Then, when processing the matter, you must assess what that means in the specific case. The requirement for objectivity sets the limit for how far you can go in your assessment and what you can base your decision on. It must not matter, for example, that the person applying for the permit has been unpleasant or unwilling to cooperate. This means that, when processing the matter, you cannot allow your personal views or interests to colour your assessment.
Being objective also involves an obligation for the authority to be consistent in its decision-making and treat equivalent cases alike. It is, for instance, not objective to give one applicant extra service and benefits in one case while refusing others the same type of benefit in another case.
The requirement for objectivity is also about the point that, as a person working in an authority, you should not be putting time and effort into matters outside your obligations and duties.