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Ministry of Interior of the Slovak republic   Today is 14. June 2024, Friday
 

4. Managing Pre-and Post-Public Employment

The need to manage pre-and post-public employment

Opportunities to move between positions in the public and private sectors have been increasing due to growing synergies between the sectors, ongoing outsourcing, and more transfer of public services away from the traditional public service. Both sectors have an interest in attracting experienced and skilled employees. However, this so-called “revolving door” phenomenon –can be perceived by citizens as taking unfair advantage of the information, relations or any other type of advantage, gained from the previous employment. In some cases, the impression can arise, that public officials are making decision not in the public interest, but in the interest of a former or future employer. This lowers the trust in public service and the public integrity system.

It is important to underline that employment does not merely mean full-time paid employment offer, it could also mean compensation for work from any outside source, such as consulting.

Conflicts of interest arising from pre- and post-public employment

Major pre- and post-public employment problem areas involve public officials when they:

  • seek future employment outside the public service
  • conduct post-public employment lobbying back to government institutions
  • switch sides in the same process
  • use confidential or other “insider” information
  • are employed in the public service, for example, to do the same tasks they performed in the private or non-profit sectors.

Revolving doors: Specific rules and procedures

There are some examples of measures that can be taken to manage the movement between position in the public and private sector. These measures draw clear lines for the public officials what is acceptable and can help to avoid the impression of a lack of integrity.

Pre-public Employment

  • Development of clear rules and procedures regarding divestment of interests upon joining public service from industry
  • Restricting private sector employees or lobbyists and suppliers to the government or those who negotiate public sector contracts on behalf of a company, to fill a post in the public sector
  • Strengthening of recusal rules and procedures that bar appointees from handling matters involving their former employers in the private sector, once they have entered public service

Post-public Employment

  • Legally requiring public officials not to use confidential or other “insider” information after they leave the public sector
  • Requiring a “cooling-off” period: public officials leaving the public sector are restricted from lobbying or engaging in official dealings, interacting with their former subordinates or colleagues in the public sector. Some countries have introduced compensation during the cooling off period
  • Public officials should be prohibited from “switching sides” and representing their new employer in an ongoing procedure on a contentious issue for which they had responsibility before they left the public sector

Key points to remember

  • The movement between public and private sector can be beneficial for both sectors, but needs to be regulated to avoid not only actual, but even the appearance of conflict of interest
  • Areas for potential conflicts of interest can be future employment with a company doing business with the public agency, improperly using influence after leaving the public service and disclosing confidential information

 

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