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Friday, 15 November 2013

Corruption in Local Government

Transparency International has a report out about corruption in local government, which has plenty of meat in it, and possibly deserves several posts. 

One narrow point it makes is the government's suggested removal of the statutory protection for Chief Executives, Finance Directors and Monitoring Officers.  This affords an extra level of protection from being sacked on the grounds that all three are senior posts that deal with politically sensitive matters.  Allowing their holders to be removed without clear justification would open the doors to an unscrupulous political leadership clearing the way for all kinds of dirty work.

It quotes an example of a Chief Executive in Lincolnshire calling in the Police to investigate the Council Leader.  The Leader was subsequently convicted.  The Chief Executive emphasizes how important it was that he had statutory employment protection against being dismissed.  Yet this is precisely what the current government is proposing.

Of course, any organization where lots of people are being made redundant may find staff reluctant to stand up for ethical standards, as widespread redundancies may create a climate of fear, so it is important to look beyond the formal protections to the wider ethos of the organization. 

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