Revealing Code of Conduct Designed to Prevent Sleaze
Marie Woolf Chief Political Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
THE GOVERNMENT will launch a fresh attack on sleaze this week with the publication of a new ministerial code that is designed to prevent a repetition of the controversies that surrounded Keith Vaz and Peter Mandelson.
The new code of conduct will force ministers to reveal their financial interests to their most senior civil servants when they take office, including any links to businessmen such as the billionaire Hinduja brothers.
It will be accompanied by the inaugural code of conduct governing ministers' special advisers' and spin-doctors to prevent "bullying" of civil servants. The revised rules are framed to prevent further embarrassing revelations over ministers' financial affairs,
Ministers were required to dispose of any financial interest "giving rise to actual or perceived conflict" under the previous ministerial code. They were not required to inform the Government of their interests, although many chose to.
Under the new rules ministers have to report to their permanent secretaries any potential conflicts of interest with their role in government, including meetings with lobbyists. They will also be told to seek guidance from senior civil servants as to whether their actions contravene the code. One senior Whitehall source said: "There is serious concern that permanent secretaries will be caught up in a rubber-stamping job for ministers' conduct. Civil servants could be left carrying the can. It would be up to the minister whether he went ahead with the permanent secretaries' guidance. We need an assurance that permanent secretaries …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Revealing Code of Conduct Designed to Prevent Sleaze. Contributors: Marie Woolf Chief Political Correspondent - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: July 16, 2001. Page number: 2. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.