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WESTMINSTER ASKS NOLAN FOR POWERS AGAINST LEAKERS

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Westminster LBC, in its submission to the Nolan committee looking at conduct in local government, has called for th...
Westminster LBC, in its submission to the Nolan committee looking at conduct in local government, has called for the introduction of legal powers to prosecute councillors, officers and journalists who leak confidential information, according to The Guardian (p8).

The council also proposes the abolition of surcharge and radical changes in the district auditor's inquiry system, looser rules on gifts and hospitality, and a right for councillors to participate in decisions which could benefit them.

The Guardian says the 'extraordinary' submission, which is backed only by the council's majority Conservative group, is certain to cause a huge row with the Audit Commission.

An extract from the Westminster submission states: 'The release of confidential information, whether by members or officers, is rarely undertaken in the interests of local taxpayers but usually either for political or personal purposes. There is no straightforward answer but the proposals, which would make a deliberate breach of the new code of governance a criminal offence, would represent a major improvement on the situation.'
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