Futures Forum: Concerns for corruption in Local Government
Legislative changes "creating greater risk of corruption in local government"
|Thursday, 10 October 2013 10:26|
Changes contained in the Localism Act 2011 and proposed in the Local Audit and Accountability Bill could unintentionally create an enabling environment for corruption in local government, it has been claimed.
In a report, Corruption in Local Government: The Mounting Risks, Transparency International said it had identified 16 recent legislative changes which increased the risk of corruption.
These are divided into audit arrangements and the new regime for regulating the conduct of elected members.
In relation to audit arrangements, Transparency International identified the following :
In relation to the new regime for regulating the conduct of elected members, the report said:
Transparency International also pointed to a decline in scrutiny by local press and an increase in outsourcing to the private sector.
The report did, however, acknowledge a lack of agreement among experts as to the scale and prevalence of corruption in local government in the UK.
“Some argued that the cases that have come to light represent the tip of the iceberg,” it said. “Others felt equally strongly that the relatively small number of obvious corruption cases, and the fact that they had often been exposed by the existing oversight structures, was a sign that there is in fact no iceberg.”
Transparency International said its aim was to undertake an analysis of the institutional robustness and integrity of local government.
The report put forward 22 recommendations. These include that the Government should conduct a corruption risk assessment and strengthen whistleblowing procedures.
Robert Barrington, Executive Director of Transparency International UK, said: “Local government is undergoing substantial changes in the way it is audited, in the oversight of ethical conduct and in public accountability. We may not see the results for a decade. We are warning that one of the unintended consequences of these changes has been to create an enabling environment for corruption.
“While the majority of council workers and elected members observe high standards of conduct, the risk is that unethical public officials may exercise their power for private gain, unchecked by scrutiny, complaint, or the threat of punishment”.
A copy of Transparency International’s report can be viewed here.
Local Government Lawyer - Legislative changes "creating greater risk of corruption in local government"
Corruption in UK Local Government: The Mounting Risks
See also: Global body criticises weak local authority audits | Accountancy Live
Audit and standards reforms 'raise corruption risk' | News | Local Government Chronicle
Thanks to: Corruption in public life (2) | Sidmouth Independent News