Work ethically

Transformational leadership is the ability to inspire and motivate employees and stakeholders to create the conditions for successful transformation. Working ethically is essential to this.

What is working ethically?

The way in which individuals and groups conduct themselves in the delivery of transformation activities, aligned to a set of values, principles and behaviours that typically include honesty, transparency, integrity, fairness, and respect and in the context of data, seek to recognise bias or the potential for unintended consequences.

Essential for:

  • All types of transformation.


  • Understanding of ethical considerations in relation to transformation and data use.
  • Understanding of statistical concepts and the potential for bias.
  • Knowledge of the legal framework including data protection and equality laws.
  • Understanding of best practice data governance.


Able to:

  • Operate within the legal and regulatory framework for local government: In particular, adhering to laws relating to data protection, privacy, and equality.
  • Promote transparency: At all times clearly communicating openly about transformation, including how data is used, and promoting accessible privacy policies to users.
  • Create an Ethics Framework: Establishing guidelines and principles for responsible decision making, going beyond the necessity for legal compliance to consider the potential risks and impacts of data use and mitigate potential bias.
  • Engage stakeholders: To ensure diversity of perspective in the creation of the framework and the governance of ethics ongoing. 
  • Think critically: To understand the potential for bias and ensure that biases, or the potential for them in data representation, are made clear, ensuring that data led decision making is fair. 
  • Assess risks and impacts: Considering the impacts, or potential impacts of actions or data insights on all stakeholders.
  • Apply bias mitigations: Adapting ways of working that seek to mitigate bias, including understanding algorithms used in technical and data transformation to ensure that potential bias in data models and / or outputs is appropriately managed.
  • Work within data governance: Ensuring the collection, storage, access to and sharing of data is appropriately controlled and that principles, including Privacy by Design and technical security measures are applied.
  • Provide training and raise awareness: Among key stakeholders so that they understand the importance of ethics and its role in transformation.
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively: With stakeholders at all levels, including technical and non-technical teams.


  • Honest
  • Respectful
  • Fair / balanced
  • Accountable
  • Collaborative
  • Analytical
  • Empathetic
  • Inclusive
  • Committed to continual learning

Related roles

All roles involved in transformation delivery, and particularly decision makers and anyone involved in managing data and data insights.

Leadership and management – maturity index

The index attached below sets out the typical leadership and management characteristics demonstrated by councils at each stage of their transformation maturity.