The Office of Government Ethics has provided guidance to agencies on maintaining their ethics programs during the disruption to federal working routines by the Coronavirus.
It says that ethics officials should “reevaluate the risk to agencies in light of operational changes due to the pandemic and raising those risks to the appropriate decision makers.” For example, with more employees teleworking, it suggests reminding them “about ethics issues likely to be faced by employees during this time, such as the use of nonpublic information, misuse of government equipment, and the gift rules.”
Other steps to consider for ensuring ethics compliance by agency employees, it says, include “ensuring that employees can access ethics resources and continue to receive individualized ethics advice, including remotely” and “including ethics contact information in periodic status communications to all employees.”
Regarding internal management, suggestions include “strategizing about how your agency can continue to conduct ethics orientations, annual ethics education, and other briefings remotely”; “exploring online resources created by OGE and other agencies that may help your agency meet education and communication needs”; “seeking IT support to facilitate virtual meetings and events in support of the ethics program”; and “documenting any impacts the disruption has on your agency carrying out any aspect of its ethics program.”
More on Federal Government Ethics Policies at ask.FEDweek.com