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NCJ Number: 66549 Find in a Library
Title: LOCAL GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Journal: PUBLIC LAW  Dated:(SUMMER 1969)  Pages:132-152
Author(s): D E REGAN; A J A MORRIS
Corporate Author: Sweet and Maxwell
Marketing Director
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1969
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: Sweet and Maxwell
London, NW3 3PF, England
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR AND EXTENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION IN ENGLAND ARE EXAMINED ALONG WITH PUBLIC ATTITUDES ABOUT SUCH PRACTICES.
Abstract: ALTHOUGH A GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATIVE COMMITTEE IN 1967 CONCLUDED THAT MOST LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS WERE HONEST, ALLEGATIONS OF CORRUPTION PERSIST. SINCE LOCAL AUTHORITIES HANDLE ENORMOUS SUMS OF MONEY, THE POTENTIAL FOR CORRUPTION IS CONSIDERABLE, PARTICULARLY IN LAND USE PLANNING AND CONTRACT AWARDS. UNDER THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT OF 1933, AN OFFICIAL MUST DECLARE ANY PECUNIARY INTEREST IN A MATTER AND REFRAIN FROM PARTICIPATION IN A DECISION ON THE MATTER. THE PUBLIC BODIES CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT OF 1889 BROADLY DEFINES ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES, BUT DOES NOT COVER CASES IN WHICH OFFICIALS GIVE VALUABLE INFORMATION TO OTHER PERSONS BEFORE IT BECOMES PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE. DATA ON THE ACTUAL EXTENT OF CORRUPTION IS DIFFICULT TO LOCATE, BUT AVAILABLE EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT INCIDENCES OF CORRUPTION ARE LOW. HOWEVER, SURVEYS SHOW THAT APPROXIMATELY ONE-FOURTH OF THE ELECTORATE BELIEVE THAT MANY LOCAL OFFICIALS ARE MOTIVATED PRIMARILY BY FINANCIAL GAIN. TO IMPROVE PUBLIC CONFIDENCE, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS NEED TO PUBLICIZE THEIR ACTIVITIES THROUGH IMPROVED RELATIONS WITH THE PRESS AND A GREATER EMPHASIS ON PUBLIC RELATIONS TECHNIQUES. MACHINERY TO INVESTIGATE INDIVIDUAL GRIEVANCES AGAINST LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IS ALSO NEEDED, SUCH AS A COMPLAINTS OFFICER OR A LOCAL OMBUDSMAN. THE COMMUNITIES OF SHEFFIELD AND BRISTOL HAVE COMPLAINTS OFFICES, AND ALTHOUGH NO CASES OF CORRUPTION HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED, CITIZEN SUSPICIONS HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY DISPELLED. A SYSTEM OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, A SPECIALIZED ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL, OR A LOCAL COMMISSIONER EMPOWERED TO INVESTIGATE COMPLAINTS OF MALPRACTICES SHOULD BE INSTITUTED TO SUPPLEMENT THE COMPLAINTS OFFICER. COMMISSIONERS COULD BE LINKED INTO A NATIONAL SYSTEM TO PROVIDE CHANNELS FOR APPEAL. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Abuse of authority; Corruption of public officials; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Laws and Statutes; Local government; Ombudsmen; Public Attitudes/Opinion
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66549

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