An oath for the public servant

This oath started with a conversation that I had with Carl Whilstlecraft and has been shaped by many others. You can see the conversation in this storify — I think it’s important to show the workings out.
What’s it for? Well it’s a reminder of what we stand for and what we have learnt. It’s a reminder of what we need to hang onto these times of change. They connect us to a wider community of like minded people.

An oath for the public servant

I swear by the power of the people that I will keep this oath whatever gets thrown at me.

I will always remember my values because they are the reason why I am a public servant. With pride I will share my belief in democracy, public service and the common good.

I am a public servant because I want to make a difference for people and for places. I will put the public first and strive to find out what people can offer and what people need. I will start with people’s interests and aspirations and will never assume I know what anyone needs without asking them.

I will focus on solutions and seek out strengths and great work. I will celebrate the good stuff and always give credit where credit is due. I will not waste my time obsessing about problems and causes.

I will be constructive and honest in my feedback and willing to receive constructive criticism when it comes to me. I will give myself and those around me permission to fail and I will learn from failure. All because I want everything to be the best it can be.

I will put my energy into changing what I can influence and I will not worry about the things I cannot change. I will lead by being the change I want to see and bring people with me by showing them what can be better.

I will move quickly from ideas to action. I will prototype, mock up, try out and test. I will develop through iteration and use feedback to improve. I will not spend time on unnecessary planning.

I will be social not siloed. I will work across boundaries both inside and outside of my organisation. I will help build networks with like-minded people. I will be open and transparent whenever I can and I will share whatever I can.

I will always be interested in the latest technology but I will remember that it is only a means to an end. Sometimes new technology is not needed at all; changing how people act is what really matters.

I will strive to be an expert in not being an expert. I will listen, facilitate, encourage and support. I will remember that there is always something to be learnt from others and a new idea to be found. I will be critical and ask questions and get the richest picture that I can.

If I follow this oath may I have credit from my colleagues and thanks from the public.

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