Independent report

MPs, Ministers and Civil Servants, Executive Quangos

The first report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, published May 1995

Documents

First Report - MPs, Ministers and Civil Servants, Executive Quangos - Summary

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First Report - MPs, Ministers and Civil Servants, Executive Quangos - Full Report

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Detail

The First Report stated that, although it was not possible to say conclusively that standards of behaviour in public life had declined, it was possible to say that conduct in public life was more rigorously scrutinised than in the past, that standards demanded by the public remained high, and that the great majority of people in public life met those standards. The Report noted, however, weaknesses in the procedures for maintaining and enforcing those standards, which meant that people in public life were not always as clear as they should have been about where the boundaries of acceptable conduct lay.

As a result, the Committee drew up the Seven Principles of Public Life as a re-statement of the general principles of conduct under pinning public life, and stated that:

All public bodies should draw up Codes of Conduct incorporating the Seven Principles; Internal systems for maintaining standards should be supported by independent scrutiny; More needed to be done to promote and reinforce standards of conduct in public bodies, in particular through guidance and training, including induction training. The Report made 55 specific recommendations on Members of Parliament, Ministers and civil servants, executive Quangos (Non-Departmental Public Bodies) and NHS bodies. The recommendations included the appointment of a Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and a Commissioner for Public Appointments.