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Financial Times publishes NALC letter on resetting standards in public life

LETTER

Today, The Financial Times published the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) letter to the Conservative leadership candidates on resetting standards in public life.

Our national politicians' past and future behaviour, conduct and standards are at the heart of the Conservative Party leadership contest. A serious reset of standards in public life is urgently needed. This crisis in confidence is understandably shared by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (COSIPL) in their recent annual report. Not surprising given their review of local government ethical standards contained a series of recommendations – fully supported by NALC as the national body for England's 10,000 parish and town councils which are the first tier of local government in England – to strengthen the current system and improve the conduct of local councillors. Yet the Boris Johnson government failed to back the report, a move strongly criticised by NALC. So, if Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are serious about improving trust in all those in public life, they must implement COSIPL's report and recommendations in full. Including introducing tougher sanctions, such as suspension, on poorly behaving councillors. Just last week, a new poll suggests voters want the next Conservative leader to take decisive action on standards in public life. This must be a priority for the new prime minister. But not limited to Whitehall and must include our town and village halls.

Baroness Scott of Needham Market, NALC president
Cllr Keith Stevens, NALC chair

Updates from the Civility and Respect Project