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More than Compliance: The Value of the Annual Agency Ethics Program Questionnaire

September 7, 2023

By: Shelley Finlayson, Acting Director

Maintaining the public’s trust is a shared responsibility between OGE and executive branch agencies. Together, we work to guard against conflicts of interest and violations of ethical standards.

To ensure that the program is strong, every year OGE requires agencies to self-report on key program elements, including leadership support, financial disclosure, education and training, ethics counseling, remediation of conflicts of interest, and transparency.  OGE does this through the Annual Agency Ethics Program Questionnaire.

This week, OGE issued an Advisory providing agencies with an advance copy of the Questionnaire they will submit early next year. You can see the information agencies will report and agencies, along with their human resources officials and Inspectors General, can be ready to submit this important compliance information.

Once received, OGE will use the information collected to carry out part of its oversight role, analyzing the data to identify areas of concern at individual agencies and across the executive branch. OGE will also use the data to increase transparency. We report on the executive branch ethics program to the public, Congress, and the ethics community, by posting individual agency responses to the Questionnaire, as well as a summary report, on the OGE website. This information provides valuable insights into individual agency ethics programs and the ethics program as a whole.

OGE will also continue to use the data to make informed decisions about priorities and resource allocation, and to encourage ethics officials to use the information to benchmark and improve their agency ethics programs.

We encourage you to use the data, too. It’s there, in part, for you to see how each agency is complying with important ethics program requirements and to give you confidence that OGE is ensuring that systems are in place at every executive branch agency to safeguard against conflicts of interest.