27 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: ‘Lack of care’ upholding PS standards

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The Chair of the United Kingdom’s Committee of Standards in Public Life says the Government has been “careless” in its upholding of the standards which govern Public Servants’ behaviour.

Lord Jonathan Evans said the Government needed to take the rules around behaviour and ethics much more seriously and provide more funding to do so.

Speaking before Parliament’s Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Lord Evans (pictured) said the rules had not been given the priority they should have had across various Departments.

“I think if you look at, for instance, the very unsatisfactory way in which transparency reports are given in respect of lobbying, it’s pretty clear that is not a priority,” Lord Evans said.

“Some parts of the business world, some of the regulated corporations, I think, are much more professional in the way they seek to meet their compliance requirements.”

He said the Government system was very weak in comparison to where he believed it should be.

“We have seen a whole series of issues over the last few months, all of those, I think, have demonstrated that there is at least a carelessness amongst people in Government over standards issues, and possibly more than that.

“If you look at the amount of political and official time that’s being absorbed in trying to catch up with a story that’s run away — I think it would have been very prudent to have proactively ensured that people were being careful about these things in advance,” Lord Evans said.

London, 15 January 2022

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