Virtue has long been a central principle in the tradition of public service—to what extent is it still relevant today? Focusing on the role of the monitoring officer, a key official in the ethical framework of local government in the United Kingdom, this essay asks which virtues, if any, are still needed for public service and whether these virtues have been displaced by managerial notions of technical competence as the principles of public service delivery. The authors draw an initial distinction between virtue and competence that, upon further investigation, does not appear to be sustainable. Despite being drawn from two different academic perspectives—moral philosophy and management development—the concepts of virtue and competence are, in practice, very similar. This theoretical convergence is reflected in the practical concerns of monitoring officers and their perspective on public service ethics.