This is a new one for me. One of the local candidates for ChangeUk brought the work of the Committee on Standards in Public Life to my attention, especially the seven Nolan principles. These are there to guide people who are in public service and commit them to the highest standards. You can find them here:
- Selflessness – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
- Integrity – Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
- Objectivity – Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
- Accountability – Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
- Openness – Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
- Honesty – Holders of public office should be truthful.
- Leadership – Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.
Following months and months of political turmoil, it is clear that these standards are not being upheld by many of those in the public limelight. A lack of selflessness, openness and honesty are particularly obvious with people putting party before country, structuring parties in a way that hides funding and openly lying about Turkish immigration, NHS finances and voting.
We should demand better from our politicians and those in the service of the public. After all, it is your money they are spending.
Of course they are guidelines rather than regulations.