Headlines: January 24th, 2002

The Committee on Standards in Public Life is to conduct research into public attitudes about propriety. It has awarded the contract to produce the first stage of the research to the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen).NatCen was chosen following a tendering process involvling five bidders, and will embark upon its initial study in February to define parameters for the quantitative studies which will follow. A report of the first stage will be published in summer 2002.

The committee’s task is to examine general concerns about standards of conduct of all holders of public office, including worries about whether financial and commercial interests create conflicts of interest (though it does not investigate specific complaints).

Its problem is that has little information to go on about what standards the public actually expects.

NatCen is Britain’s largest independent social research organisation and a registered charity.

Links: www.natcen.ac.uk , and www.public-standards.gov.uk