The Nolan principles

The Nolan principles are 7 rules that everyone involved in public life must abide by, including governors and trustees. Understand what they mean for you and see examples of codes of conduct that refer to them.

Last reviewed on 16 May 2022
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  1. The 7 Nolan principles of public life
  2. The Nolan principles in your code of conduct

The 7 Nolan principles of public life

Everyone in governance should be aware of and accept the 7 principles of public life, known as the Nolan principles. They apply to anyone, locally and nationally, who is elected or appointed as a public office-holder. This is set out on page 38 of the Governance Handbook.

Selflessness: holders of public office should act solely in the public interest Integrity: holders of public office shouldn't place themselves under external obligations that could influence their public duties. They shouldn't act to benefit themselves or family and friends, and must declare any interests that could impact on their public work Objectivity: holders of public office must make decisions impartially and based on merit Accountability: holders of public office are accountable to the public for their actions Openness: holders of public office should be open in their decision making Honesty: holders of public office should be truthful Leadership: holders of public office should promote these principles