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The Moral Heart of Public Service

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Now more than ever, public servants must consider and reassess how to keep moral courage in public life alive. With ethical expectations and needs changing and government policies under increasing moral scrutiny, Claire Foster-Gilbert of Westminster Abbey Institute gathers a series of essays and lectures by herself and others, exploring the meaning of 'moral code' in today's public service, and how it can be rekindled in practice.

Timely and timeless, the book is founded on traditional values of honesty, moral rigour and neighbourliness, and discusses how to champion stability, peace, community and virtue in contemporary public life. The authors, including eminent figures such as the former President of Ireland Mary McAleese, historian Peter Hennessy, former First Secretary of State William Hague and former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, explain how realistic compromises can be balanced with clear goal-setting for ideal results.

Forward-thinking and authoritative, this book will be a precious resource to anyone seeking to boost the circulation of integrity throughout all aspects of public life.
  • Published: Jun 21 2017
  • Pages: 288
  • 220 x 156mm
  • ISBN: 9781785922558
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Press Reviews

  • Matthew Parris, Times columnist and author

    We live in an age when noisy moralism is everywhere, and the news and social media have invaded the pulpit. Quiet reflection on moral truth, however, and the noble sobriety of public administration, have become under-valued virtues. All power to a book like this in redressing that imbalance.
  • Lord Saatchi

    Meet the better angels of your nature. Find out what 'public service' really means.
  • Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, House of Lords and former President, Family Division, High Court

    In this increasingly uncertain society of post truth in which we live, the lectures and discussions are thought-provoking and timely. They give the opportunity for reflection, particularly, for those who serve the public, in whatever capacity, to know where they stand and having found that place hold to it. Congratulations to the Westminster Abbey Institute.
  • Mark Easton, BBC News Home Editor

    Social capital is the glue that holds communities together and it is a vital commodity in short supply. This book offers welcome recognition of those public servants and private citizens who recognise a moral imperative in working to make our society stronger.
  • Frances D’Souza CMG, Scientist and Member of the House of Lords

    The conflict between moral courage, idealism and compromise ... requires constant attention, and it is this struggle that keeps us morally alive and allows us to retain our souls. Through a combination of deep moral philosophy and historical perspectives, leavened by practical experience and revealed in compelling interviews, this book achieves something rather special: it forces us to think about who we are, what we do and why?
  • Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police until 2017

    The Westminster Abbey Institute helps the people who wander the four corners of Parliament Square where church, law and politics live together. And so does this book. Yet it can help more than this small community. It is both a challenging and caring read for leaders and managers everywhere. It avoids the easy temptation to preach, but offers a clear direction for those who will listen.
  • Catholic Herald

    A timely, thought-provoking book of lectures and essays. Numerous writers including the historian Peter Hennessy and the former foreign secretary William Hague discuss ways to work for good in the world, without the meddling connotations of do-gooding.