CSPL publishes Annual Report 2017-18

The Committee has published its annual report for 2017-18, setting out its strategic vision and purpose, reporting on its work for 2017-18, and outlining its watching brief for 2018-19

The independent Committee on Standards in Public Life today published its annual report for 2017 – 18. The report details the reviews and reports conducted this year, sets out the Committee’s ongoing programme of work and the standards issues on which it intends to maintain a watching brief in 2018-19.

Lord Bew, Chair of the Committee, who completes his five-year term on 31 August, said:

"This year, we have considered a range of important, topical issues, from MPs’ outside interests to the continuing importance of ethical standards for those private companies providing public services – all the more timely given the collapse of Carillion early in 2018. We are now six months into a review of local government ethical standards. Amongst all this, we have contributed to consultations by others including on pre-appointment scrutiny of public appointments, local public accounts committees and the draft Behaviour Code for Parliament and have worked with others to highlight and promote a wide range of standards issues.

"Perhaps most notably this year, we looked at the growing problem of intimidation in public life. The Committee felt that we were at a turning point in our political culture and that an urgent and concerted response was required. We welcomed the Government’s positive response to our report, which accepted almost all of our recommendations, in March this year.

"There is always a risk that concerns relating to standards remain under the radar for a long period, and later emerge to public prominence, as is the case with the allegations of bullying and harassment at Westminster. It is critical that Parliament has fair and timely processes in which those who have made complaints, and those who are the subject of complaints, as well as the public, can have trust. We await the outcome of the various reviews commissioned by Parliament to address these serious issues.

"To that end, in 2018/19, the Committee intends to maintain a close watching brief on culture and behaviour in Westminster, as well as other standards issues, including lobbying, and the operation of the Business Appointment Rules.

"Since its creation in 1994, the Committee has made recommendations for reform to promote and uphold high standards of conduct across public life. Lord Nolan’s Seven Principles have been the widely accepted cornerstone of ethical standards for people working across all areas of public life for almost 25 years and are now fundamental for those in the private sector who are providing services funded by the taxpayer too.

"last five years have convinced me that the Seven Principles remain as relevant today as they were a quarter of a century ago. They may have their detractors – it is true that levels of public trust do not always respond precisely to high standards, and that transparency in itself, whilst still essential, is perhaps not the cure-all originally envisaged. Notwithstanding this, the Nolan Principles clearly articulate the public’s expectations of those that serve them and must be promoted, understood and reinforced across public life."

Committee on Standards in Public Life