March 01, 2011
Training Tip 9: If You Teach Them Nothing Else ...
Many government employees assume that "ethics" and "morals" are the same. They are so confident of their integrity that they tend to tune out standards of conduct training as something that applies only to those of lower moral standards.
The Army's guide for new ethics counselors, Running An Effective Ethics Program. is the best 9 pages of practical advice that I'm ever seen, or can imagine seeing. It addresses this point pithily:
Key concept to convey to personnel: You don't have to be evil to screw up. Many regulations and statutes are not well known, are counter-intuitive, and have been violated in the past. People violate them unintentionally and unwittingly. (e.g.: 18 U.S.C. 205, 18 U.S.C. 207(a)(2)).
If your ethics training does not convey any other ideas, make sure you get across this point across. Make sure they have your contact information, and explain the concept of immunizing advice.