Friday, June 25, 2010

What ever happened to transparency, accountability and honesty in public life, Glasgow Council of shame Provost Bob Winter asked to go

Dear All

It seems that Scotland’s civic figureheads are demanding their chauffeur-driven car expenses are kept secret, have they never heard of transparency?

Have they never heard about the Nolan Principles for conduct in public life?

Selflessness : Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

Integrity : Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.

Objectivity : In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Accountability : Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

Openness : Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Honesty : Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

Leadership : Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

The call for secrecy comes as Labour Provost of shame at Glasgow City Council comes under further pressure over allegations regarding his used of taxpayer-funded car to transport him to a holiday home.

The Scottish Provosts’ Association is angry about new measures that the use of civic cars and the associated costs be publicly available and recorded as individual expenses.

They want to keep the ‘Winter doctrine’ which translates to ‘as directed’ on receipts.

Not good enough, its taxpayers’ money and not a taxi service.

Minutes from a recent meeting of the Provost organisation, they sought to muddy the water by claiming:

“there is continuing concern about the decision by the minister not now to exempt the publication of the use of chauffeur-driven cars by the civic heads” and that “there is also concern about the varied interpretation by different councils as to how this information is published”.

There should be a uniform standard across the board all over Scotland, self regulation clearly doesn’t work.

After an ill-tempered meeting of Glasgow’s full Council Lord Provost Bob Winter was asked to consider his position. In effect, he was asked to go and in my opinion the sooner the better. As reported in the press claims that the chauffeur bill for the lord provost’s office in April was £8324 and that we paid for Bob Winter to use the car to go to a family retreat in Bute.

Bute is outside the Glasgow City limits.

Now there are calls for an investigation in how Bob used the chauffeur-driven car, information asked at the Council meeting includes a a list of dates and times when he used the car, what were his official duties on those days, where they took place, and what time did they start and finish and what was the cost of each of these journeys.

A Glasgow Labour Council of shame spokesman said the Lord Provost’s statement made clear he was in favour of publishing expenses but not in the current format. This means he is comfortable to let the public know the cost but not what he is doing or where he goes.

Bob Winter should resign as Provost, his actions don’t in my opinion match what could reasonably be expect of a person holding public office and certainly don’t stack up against the Nolan Principles.

Winter is just another relic of the corrupt sleazy Council that has used Glasgow and its people as a ‘cash cow’; truly it is a Labour Council of shame.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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