Wednesday, May 13, 2009

MPs expenses and Nolan's Seven Principles of Public Life

1 comment:
Its all over the news that MPs are writing cheques to give back money they now think they should not have claimed on expenses etc. They certainly should pay back money. We'll still be left with the many MPs who showed themselves incapable of telling right from wrong when putting in expenses claims though. Yes the pay and expenses system needs to be changed (MPs should not be setting their own pay and expenses) but the lets also get rid of the MPs (and MEPs) devoid of scruples, oblivious to or contemptuous of what is right or honorable.

The 'Nolan Committee on Standards in Public Life was set up in 1994 as a result of public concern about the financial probity of holders of public office. It was concerned with standards in public life generally and particularly where public funds were involved.' (details here). Many MPs have very clearly not stood by Nolan's Seven Principles of Public Life:


Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.


Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.


In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.


Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.


Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.


Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.


Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.