February 07, 2011
Training Tip 6: Make Sure to Cover All Mandatory Topics
The United States Office of Governnment Ethics establishes the minimum required content of ethics training in 5 C.F.R. § 2638.704(b):
Content of training. Agencies are encouraged to vary the content of verbal training from year to year but the training must include, at least, a review of:
- The Principles;
- The Standards;
- Any agency supplemental standards;
- The Federal conflict of interest statutes; and
- [Contact information on] agency ethics officials available to advise the employee on ethics issues.
I've attended more than one ethics training session that did not reference these mandatory topics, but I strongly recommend:
If you are going to do ethics training at all, comply with the regulation.
Otherwise, what's the point?
There is no specified time for the "review" component, so presumably a cursory reference to the cited references will suffice. Spending most of your time on a limited subset of ethics issues is much smarter than trying to explain every reference cited in 5 C.F.R. § 2638.704(b), but make sure that at a minimum you remind your audience of these references and let them know how to obtain copies. A hypertext link to the references is a good idea, especially if that part of your training is in electronic format.
I remember one trainer who failed to include her name and contact information on her slide show. She included only her predecessor's name and contact information on the handouts. Was she lazy, or trying to elude those who might have pesky requests for advice? Does it really matter? The damage is the same. Always include the appropriate names and contact information. This might be the most important information you give the audience.
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