[2021] Motion 62 Standards in public life

carried motion
Carried motion

Received from:

Congress recognises that maintaining high standards in public life is essential to the delivery of high-quality public services and maintaining trust in the motives of those who lead our public services.

25 years ago, the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) was established under Lord Nolan, and it articulated the seven “Nolan Principles” of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, and leadership. Over those 25 years these principles have underpinned the public service ethos of the country.

The principles apply to anyone who works as a public office holder and includes all those who are elected or appointed to public office, nationally and locally, and all public servants.

Lord Nolan’s original report made clear that independent scrutiny was vital to underpin these principles. It is disappointing, therefore, that the prime minister has rejected the recommendation of the CSPL to allow for independent investigations into breaches of the ministerial code. The prime minister is not only the sole arbiter on breaches of the code, but he alone decides whether an investigation even begins.

As the most senior public servant in the country, the prime minister sets the tone for standards in public life. His conduct and the conduct of his ministers have implications across our public services.

Congress calls on the prime minister to immediately adopt all of the recommendations of the CSPL on the ministerial code, the business appointment rules and transparency in lobbying, as a first step in to restoring faith in standards in public life.