Surprising Love for the Nolans

The government have a website. It is about as exciting as you would expect. There are no hilarious pictures of cats wearing bobble hats or amusing gifs of politicians caught napping on the back benches. Occasionally, however, I am grateful for its presence.

It is through the government website that I learned about The Nolan Principles.

Nope, not the singing group. They are categorically not in the mood for dancing.

They are, however, in the mood for being The Seven Principles of Public Life.

They were published by the Committee on Standards in Public Life in 1995, and are part of the government’s commitment to transparency and accountability.

I quote:

The 7 principles of public life apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder. This includes people who are elected or appointed to public office, nationally and locally, and all people appointed to work in:

  • the civil service
  • local government
  • the police
  • the courts and probation services
  • non-departmental public bodies
  • health, education, social and care services

The principles also apply to all those in other sectors that deliver public services.

They were first set out by Lord Nolan in 1995 and they are included in the Ministerial Code.

Let’s see what they are, shall we?


Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.


Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.


Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.


Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.


Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.


Holders of public office should be truthful.


Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.


I was going to write something pithy about our experiences with our CCG in relation to each and every one of these.

If you’ve read my blog posts over the last few days, I don’t think I need you.

I’ll let you figure it out for yourselves.

2 responses to “Surprising Love for the Nolans

  1. So is there somewhere to complain if one feels the Nolan Principles are not being adhered to?

  2. At the moment, not really, although we are working on that. In terms of the CCG in particularly, they fairly much regulate themselves.

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