Just the sort of thing which brings parish councils into disrepute

Contributed by editor on Nov 03, 2007 - 08:07 PM

Dear Editor,

I have been involved in public life since 1979 and have never come across anything remotely like the current saga of Hawkinge Parish Council as reported on your site and in the local press.

What has now come to a head is the result of a culmination of the events over many years which has seen deep irreconcilable differences between councillors. In my opinion this has been to the detriment of Hawkinge and the conduct of the Council's business.

I believe that everyone involved needs to take stock and be reminded of the 'Ten Principles of Public Life' that are laid down by the Standards Board for England.

SELFLESSNESS—members should serve only the public interest and should never improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person.

HONESTY and INTEGRITY—Members should not place themselves in situations where their honesty and integrity may be questioned, should not behave improperly, and should on all occasions avoid the appearance of such behaviour.

OBJECTIVITY—Members should make decisions on merit, including when making appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits.

ACCOUNTABILITY—Members should be as open as possible about their actions and those of their authority, and should be prepared to give reasons for those actions.

PERSONAL JUDGEMENT—members may take account of the views of others, including their political groups, but should reach their own conclusions on the issues before them and act in accordance with those conclusions.

RESPECT for OTHERS—members should promote equality by not discriminating unlawfully against any person, and by treating people with respect, regardless of their race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. They should respect the impartiality and integrity of the authority's statutory officers and its other employees.

DUTY to UPHOLD the LAW—members should uphold the law and, on all occasions, act in accordance with the trust that the public is entitled to place in them.

STEWARDSHIP—members should do whatever they are able to do to ensure that their authorities use their resources prudently, and accordance with the law.

LEADERSHIP—members should promote and support these principles by leadership, and by example, and should act in a way that secures or preserves public confidence.

No doubt this current crisis has not yet run its course, and is just the sort of thing which brings all Parish and Town Councils into disrepute.

Cllr. Colin Tearle


Swingfield Parish Council