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CIPFA 2002 CONFERENCE REPORT - FORMER WATCHDOG SET UPON COUNCILLORS

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Former MP watchdog Elizabeth Filkin has warned councillors the onus is on them to drive plans to improve standards....
Former MP watchdog Elizabeth Filkin has warned councillors the onus is on them to drive plans to improve standards.

Ms Filkin - who was pushed out

as parliamentary commissioner for

standards in February - claimed councillors have to want a new set of

standards introduced if such standards are to work.

The code of conduct - the final piece in the government's new ethical framework - came into force for more than 4,000 councils last month.

Ms Filkin told CIPFA delegates: 'It is critical that a standards body is self regulating and is supported by people in that institution. And the question is - how do we achieve that?'

She also set out some of the difficulties she faced during her controversial three years in the post.

She was critical of the 'lack of resources' she was given and about

the behaviour of some MPs who bullied complainants and witnesses and abused the system.

But Tony Holland, chairman of the Standards Board for England, warned the government should tread carefully.

He said: 'The risk is it will put people off becoming involved in public life. A great number of people do have considerable concerns about putting themselves through [the code of conduct].'

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