Government to Review CABE Procedures ; DCMS Puts Rules for Dealing with Potential Conflicts of Interest at Property Quango under the Spotlight
Reece, Damian, The Independent (London, England)
THE GOVERNMENT has launched an independent review into procedures for handling potential conflicts of interest at the Commission for Architecture & the Built Environment (CABE).
CABE is a powerful quango funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. It reviews planning applications for large commercial property developments and its opinions carry weight with local planning authorities considering whether to grant permission for new developments.
The exercise has been instigated by the DCMS, which is bringing in outside auditors to carry out the review. It will look in particular at whether CABE is fully compliant with the Nolan Committee's rules on standards in public life.
A spokesman for CABE confirmed an independent review of its procedures had been agreed with the DCMS last week. He emphasised that no areas or subjects would be off limits during the course of the review and that it was being carried out with the full support of CABE. The spokesman said: "People listen to CABE because they trust and value its judgements. We want to be extremely robust in terms of procedures for measuring potential conflicts of interest. We have instigated an independent audit of our current procedures with the DCMS. It is just plain sensible. If there is a problem, that will unpick it. There have been issues raised and we treat them very seriously."
CABE is chaired by Sir Stuart Lipton, who is also the majority shareholder and chairman of Stanhope, one of the country's leading property developers. Stanhope schemes that have been considered by CABE include Croydon Gateway, South Kensington Underground station and Paternoster Square in the City of London.
In December, CABE issued a press statement on the South Kensington development. …