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COSLA BACKS NEW ETHICAL FRAMEWORK PROPOSALS

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COSLA is four square behind the government in its proposals for a new ethical framework for Scottish local governme...
COSLA is four square behind the government in its proposals for a new ethical framework for Scottish local government.

Commenting today, Keith Geddes, president of COSLA said:

'There can be no compromise about conduct and there can be no hiding place for misconduct in local government. The public have a right to expect and demand the highest standards.

'COSLA has always supported a twin track approach - councils must take primary responsibility for ensuring conduct through local standards committees; that needs to be complemented by a national standards commission to secure external scrutiny where that's appropriate and to underpin public confidence in the process.

'There's also a need for a modernised up-to-date code of conduct for councillors which can be easily understood by both them and the public. I hope that will be developed by COSLA and approved by the parliament.

'But we also need to keep a sense of proportion about this issue. Let's firstly remember what the Nolan committee said when it reported about conduct in local government - 'despite instances of corruption and misbehaviour the vast majority of councillors and officers observe high standards of conduct'.

'Second, councils often get the blame for issues of conduct which are actually outwith their control and which should have been dealt with by the political parties.

'Third, local government is already more subject to rules governing its conduct than any other part of the public sector.

'I believe that there should be a level playing field in conduct across the public sector and that the same standards of conduct should apply for MSPs, for councillors and for members of quangos. A new ethical framework for local government can set a benchmark for best practice for conduct across all of Scotland's public sector.'

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