The corruption-weary public have long since learned to be incapable of any surprise, at finding that a body named as a protector of “ethical standards in public life” itself has no ethical standards in public life. Commissions, any body bearing the title “commission”, are always disasters, because they decide their own business so they are not motivated to oblige themselves to answer the public fairly. Any enquiry you ever make to any commission, you can expect to get the answer that it is not in their remit.
The Commission for Ethical Standards in Public Life is a body that standards cases about councillors are brough to in Scotland. The law covering it causes, that when it responds to cases about councillors, or officehokders in local public bodies, it has to ask you to observe, ongoingly into the future, confidentiality about the case. But if it omits to state the grounds for any such obligation existing upon you, and automatically to answer any querying of the grounds by you, then the obligation does not exist and you have none. At present the Commission is in that position in its case LA/E/2246.
Yet by its own claim for the obligation’s existence, it is illegal for the Commission to break its obligation to the parties who it owes it to, by causing you to have no obligation. That makes it illegal for the Commission to cause no obligation in that case, by failing to answer the case raiser’s enquiry and state grounds. By such a failing to answer, it also makes the raisers of all Commission cases have no obligation – cases involving your council, your councillors, your council workers.
Every council, upon being informed of this situation, became responsible for accepting this illegality and vulnerability for all its own councillors and workers, unless it takes the action of citing the Commission as automatically always having to answer in all cases any enquiry made in reply to its claim to future confidentiality of a case. Which will specifically include, to answer in its case LA/E/2246, every detail asked attached to the statement: “Whoever the confidentiality rule exists to protect, logically your responsibility to them, your concern to raise the confidentiality rule to me, obliges you to attain a situation where the confidentiality rule applies to me.”
The Commission can not cite any opinion of the enquiry’s content as a reason not to answer it. For, as that does not answer the question about confidentiality, it leaves the attainability of confidentiality by all councils and all councillors, in cases affecting them, violated as described.
Secretariat of the Scottish parliament’s public Cross-Party Group on autism also notified of this situation, further to its own survey on the national autism strategy’s progress. Case LA/E/2246 is about the same matters as a crime report that was made within a submission to the autism strategy, and rerecorded in a submission to the CPG survey. This crime report, made informing the situation around specific objectives of the autism strategy, gave the strategy workers, and the structures around the Autism Network Scotland overseeing the strategy’s progress, an obligation towards reaching those objectives without harming and endangering autistic people. This in turn gave the authorities an obligation to enable them to do that task, by pursuing the case. Establishing an automatic duty to do that and not having even in theory a discretionary power to choose not to do it.
Hence, every council’s responsible course on behalf of the need of all its own councillors and workers after the Commission’s action, is also to hold that the pursuit of the crime report needs to happen as part of certainty of removing the situation created by the Commission’s actions.
UNTIL THE COMMISSION ANSWERS WHAT IT WAS ASKED, IT FOLLOWS THAT YOU ARE NOT TIED TO OBSERVE ANY CONFIDENTIALITY IT HAS TOLD YOU TO OBSERVE ABOUT ANY CASE.
5 Jan 2020