Written statement to Parliament

Transparency and accountability: statement by Lord Bridges

Lord Bridges of Headley made a statement on the publication of updated codes of conduct for ministers and special advisers.

Enhancing transparency and accountability has been at the heart of our approach to government over the last five years. We have opened up the books on central and local government spending to help drive out waste and inefficiency. We are publishing more and new information in open data formats to improve and transform public services. And we are ensuring that Whitehall’s elected representatives and senior officials uphold the highest standards in public life through the sunlight of transparency and democratic scrutiny.

The Government is publishing today a periodic update to the Ministerial Code of Conduct. It is customary to publish a revised Ministerial Code after a general election, and it includes technical changes on ‘Senior Responsible Owners’, Extended Ministerial Offices and removing references to the Coalition Government.

The Prime Minister has agreed the continued appointment of Sir Alex Allan as his adviser on Ministers’ Interests. Sir Alex will continue to provide an independent check and source of advice to government ministers on the handling of their private interests, and to investigate – when the Prime Minister, advised by the Cabinet Secretary, so decides – any allegations of breaches of the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

We are also publishing a revised version of the Special Adviser Code of Conduct and associated model contract. This takes into account recommendations from the then Public Administration Select Committee at the end of the last Parliament.

There is more to do to increase accountability and transparency in Whitehall, Westminster and the wider public sector. As we stated in the Government’s election manifesto, we are the servant of the British people. Every pound spent must be scrutinised, and government must be run as efficiently and effectively as possible. Transparency, openness and accountability go hand in hand with progress and prosperity, to build a stronger economy, a stronger society and security and opportunity for all.