Agency Ethical Policies

Agency Ethical Policies
Agency Ethical Policies

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Agency Ethical Policies

Creating and Implementing and Agency Policy on Ethics

Any type of criminal justice agency needs to possess an elaborate set of ethical framework, policy and procedural standards that give a detailed description about how its ethical values are supposed to be formulated and implemented in the agency (Manroop & Harrison, 2016). It is through the policy framework and procedural standards that the agency is able to; effectively communicate to its employees and staff what it requires and expects from each and every one among them (Kaptein, 2015).

After the agency has put in place its ethical policies and procedures, it should further develop elaborate measures that are to be used to assess and evaluate whether its ethical policies and standards are being maintained, and also if those policies and standards are meeting its initial objectives or yielding the desired results in its functioning and operation (Hess, 2015). Below is a detailed description about how an agency should go about planning and implementing ethical policies.

Identify the Desired Values for the Agency

The agency would find it wise and advantageous to adopt a collective or inclusive approach, which should be used to identify a set of values that is clear and elaborate before it embarks on the development and implementation process of the ethical program (Kaptein, 2015).  This is so because it would help the employees develop the perception that; the ethical program is based on values rather than the achievement of mere compliance (Hess, 2015).

Furthermore, the inclusive approach would enhance the employee’s commitment in observing the ethical policies, and also in strengthening their will to achieve the agency’s objectives, which is simply because their input had been put to consideration in the planning and implementation process (Manroop & Harrison, 2016). In addition, the inclusive approach would make the employees feel more responsible, and as such, it should be done on a regular basis to renew and enhance the effectiveness of the policies and procedural standards, and to also make it flexible and adaptive to changes in the working environment.  

Consult Senior Managers and Secure Their Commitment

In order to develop and implement a successful ethics program, it is imperative to secure the commitment and support of senior managers in the process (Hess, 2015). For example, the senior managers could be encouraged to include aspects of ethical importance in the content of their communication, and to also make active participation and contribution in the planning and implementation process of ethical policies.

In addition, it is equally important to ensure that the senior managers behave and conduct themselves accordingly (Kaptein, 2015). This is important because it acts as a source of motivation to the employees, and also creates a sense of equal concern from all parties involved, especially if these senior managers are actively involved in the training of employees on how to implement the program.  

Engage Directors or the Board of Management

This could be easily achieved if an ethics committee is instituted in the agency, and the directors and managers made prominent members in it, and in such a way that they occupy active positions (Manroop & Harrison, 2016). This important because they will be able to include aspects of ethics during board meetings in their discussion, an aspect that could create more importance in the program once it is put in place. This could even be more effective if liability is placed on the board in cases of gross ethical transgression in the agency.

Formulate an Ethics Code of Conduct

A comprehensive code of conduct should be formulated, especially one that is aligned to the agency’s values and national laws. Furthermore, the codes should be able to equip employees with the appropriate knowledge about how to act in case they are caught up in a dilemma and where leeway could be the only solace (Ruiz et al., 2015). As such, the codes should be both flexible and adaptive in order to withstand changes in the environment, especially when new challenges emerge (Kaptein, 2015).

This would therefore necessitate regular updates to keep the codes as relevant as possible. However, rigid codes that are non-negotiable should be formulated, and where leeway is applicable, employees should be guided precisely on ways to act according to the agency’s expectations.

Integrate Ethics into the Agency’s Mission and Vision Statements

By formulating ethical codes, policies and procedural standards into the agency’s mission and vision statements, all employees and managers are constantly reminded of the importance of observing them, and that of exercising values in all their operations while working in the agency (Kaptein, 2015). New employees should also be trained about the necessity of operating within the ethical program, for instance, through orientation programs that are designed for new employees.

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Secure All Necessary Resources and Funding

In order to successfully plan and implement the ethical program, it is necessary to have adequate funding and the appropriate human resource in place to facilitate the process (Manroop & Harrison, 2016). All costs that will be incurred should be factored into the agency’s budget, which is in order to determine the sustainability of the program and to facilitate the necessary adjustments that should be put in place.

Encourage Autonomy while Exercising the Ethical Provisions

It is important that each and every employee is made to understand all ethical policies and procedural standards, and to also understand the agency’s values that support those policies and standards (Manroop & Harrison, 2016). This is necessary because the agency is prone to risks and challenges that emanate from the dynamic nature of the environment, which brings along new challenges every day that could compromise the employee’s ability to act within the stipulated guidelines (Kaptein, 2015).

In addition, encouraging autonomy and understanding of all aspects of the ethical program is important because of the fact that; no ethical codes or programs are able to envisage all possible situations and encounters the employees could find themselves in. It is therefore important that employees understand and embrace all values objectives of the agency.


It is also necessary to develop reinforcement practices to ensure that the ethical program is adhered to, and that all employees are constantly reminded of the program’s importance (Manroop & Harrison, 2016). For example; all employees should have a copy of the ethical policies in their work stations at all times; mechanisms that report ethical breaches should be put in place as a counter-breach measure (Kaptein, 2015).

However, manner in which the mechanism works should be confidential; include the ethical code as part of job contracts; identify employees who should be responsible for the evaluation and implementation process of the code; organize and avail a detailed report about the use and effectiveness of the ethical program on a regular basis (Ruiz et al., 2015); and most importantly, ensure that all senior employees are able to act and demonstrate compliance with the codes in all their undertakings.

If well planned and implemented, the ethical program could go a long way to ensure that the agency is able to achieve its objectives, which is by enhancing both the management’s and employee’s commitment and responsibility in work (Hess, 2015). As such, the planning and implementation process should be treated with all the importance and necessity that it deserves.


Hess, D. (2015). Ethical Infrastructures and Evidence-Based Corporate Compliance and   Ethics Programs: Policy Implications from the Empirical Evidence. New York University Journal of Law and Business, Forthcoming.

Kaptein, M. (2015). The effectiveness of ethics programs: The role of scope, composition, and sequence. Journal of Business Ethics, 132(2), 415-431.

Manroop, L., & Harrison, J. (2016). The Ethics Portfolio: Building and Promoting Ethical. Leadership and Personnel Management: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications, 1.

Ruiz, P., Martinez, R., Rodrigo, J., & Diaz, C. (2015). Level of coherence among ethics program components and its impact on ethical intent. Journal of Business Ethics, 128(4), 725-742.

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