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FORSYTH QUANGO PROPOSALS DON'T IMPRESS COSLA

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Actions set out in a consultation paper on openness and accountability of public bodies in Scotland, published this...
Actions set out in a consultation paper on openness and accountability of public bodies in Scotland, published this week by the Scottish secretary, do not go far enough in ensuring true accountability and transparency, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities said today.

Cosla president Keith Geddes, said: 'The proposals are a reaction to Nolan rather than any new initiative by the secretary of state. Accountability involves both giving an account and being held to account. On neither basis do the proposals go far enough.

'In terms of giving an account, the proposed code of practice will not address the degree of public access to meetings which councils require.

'The proposed code of best practice for board members will not allow for them to be liable to surcharge in cases of malpractice as councillors are, while the proposed advisory committees on appointment cannot hide the fact that appointments will ultimately be made by the secretary of state.

'Secondly, in terms of being held to account, the proposals do not move forward one inch the fundamental issue of appointed boards exercising power and allocating resources without any direct accountability to local people.'

Cllr Geddes went on to suggest that: 'The best indication of an intention to make quangos accountable and open the secretary of state could give would be to return control of Scotland's three water quangos to directly elected councillors.'

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