The first area of action of the Ethics Officer is the advisory function. Upon request, the Ethics Officer counsels the administration and staff members on questions of ethics and advises on the permissibility of outside activities. This is a 360-degree advisory function, since it embraces both the administration and officials, whose interests are not necessarily the same.

The consultation is not intended to replace existing procedures, in particular as far as outside activities are concerned, but merely to provide interested officials with confidential guidance before they take action, when it is requested.

In principle, the Ethics Office is not competent to receive reports of misconduct. Reports of misconduct received by the Ethics Office are forwarded to the appropriate authority. All staff members have a duty to report suspect cases of misconduct to the relevant office (e.g. head of your department, HRD, Treasurer or Chief Internal Auditor).

Furthermore, the Ethics Officer does not deal with administrative decisions regarding employment and does not resolve grievances. In case of conflict, staff members are encouraged to seek the impartial and independent advice of the Mediator. Or, they can seek a review by HRD, go to the Joint Advisory Appeals Board (JAAB), and ultimately appeal to the ILO Administrative Tribunal.

Since its establishment in 2006, the majority of cases that have been dealt with by the Ethics Office and for which advice has been provided have primarily concerned: outside activities (e.g. of a civic, political, academic or economic nature); questions regarding recruitment or other types of contracts for relatives of officials, gifts and decorations from governments or from any other external sources; and other questions involving a potential conflict of interest. For further details of past cases, please refer to the "annual reports" of the Ethics Officer, available on this website.