Monday, 30 December 2013

Pimp Out My Councillor for £99.99 A Go

During a week in which a poll revealed 46% of voters  believe  MPs are  “on the take” (1), the Kent Green Party has accused the county’s  councillors of  “pimping out their services and influence for £99.99 a go”.

This hard hitting allegation follows the adoption, by KCC, the 12 District and many of the county’s 314 Town and Parish Councils, of the so-called “Kent Code of Conduct for Members (2)”
The Code, which replaces rules set by the now defunct Standards Board for England, regulates the ethical behaviour of most of Kent’s 2,500(3) plus councillors. Amongst other things it allows them to accept gifts and hospitality up to the value of £100 without any need to make a declaration (4). This is a 400% increase on the Standards Board for England previous declaration limit of £25 for gifts and hospitality.

Green Party Councillor, Ian Driver, who voted against Thanet Council’s decision to adopt the controversial gifts and hospitality rules said, “it’s  morally wrong for County, District, Town or Parish Councillors to accept  any form of payment or gift  from constituents, businesses, lobbyists,  or any other organisation. Permitting councillors to accept treats of up to £99.99 without any declaration  sends out all the wrong messages. It’s like saying  that Kent’s Councillors are free to pimp out their services and influence for £99.99 a go without anyone finding out. This ill-conceived Code is a charter for  corruption which reinforces the already widespread impression that most politicians have their snouts in the trough. It brings local government into serious disrepute”.
Driver’s views  are supported by the world’s leading anti-corruption organisation, Transparency International, which in a recent report,  “Corruption in UK Local Government: The Mounting Risks”,  said that  Without transparency about gifts and hospitality, there can be no serious scrutiny of an important channel through which individuals or interest groups might seek to corruptly influence members (5)”.

Said Driver “I call on the County, District, Town and Parish Councils to review their Codes of Conduct and introduce changes which prohibit councillors from receiving any gifts or hospitality from constituents, lobbyists or any other organisations. I encourage the people of Kent to lobby their Councillors to put an end to this charter for corruption”


1.   The Guardian 26th December

2.   Kent Code of Conduct for Members

The Kent Code of Conduct for Members has been adopted by Kent County Council and the 12 District Councils. There are 314 Town and Parish Councils in Kent. Many, but not all of them, have adopted the Kent Code of Conduct of Members. Random internet checks revealed the following 10 Town and Parish Councils to have adopted the Kent Code of Conduct for Members Boughton Malherbe Parish Council, Brenzett Parish Council, Dymchurch Parish Council, Hawkinge Town Council, Hythe Town Council, New Romney Town Council, Mersham and Sevington Parish Council, Merewith Parish Council and Stanhope Parish Council.
3.   KCC has 84 councillors, each of the 12 district councils have on average 50 councillors and the 314 town and parish councils have on average 6 councillors. This gives an estimated total of County, District, Town and Parish councillors of 2,568.
4.   See paragraph 7 of the Kent Code of Conduct for Members.
5.   See page 45 of “Corruption in UK Local Government: The Mounting Risks” Transparency International October 2013 page 45


  1. And how does this comply with the Bribery Act ?

    Bribery & Corruption
    The Serious Fraud Office is the lead agency in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for investigating and prosecuting cases of domestic and overseas corruption. We are responsible for enforcing the current law including the provisions of the Bribery Act (2010) in respect of overseas corruption. (Ministry of Justice, Bribery Act).

    Here are some definitions on some corruption-related terms that you may have heard of:

    bribery - giving or receiving something of value to influence a transaction
    illegal gratuity - giving or receiving something of value after a transaction is completed, in acknowledgment of some influence over the transaction
    extortion - demanding a sum of money (or goods) with a threat of harm (physical or business) if demands are not met
    conflict of interest - where an employee has an economic or personal interest in a transaction
    kickback - a portion of the value of the contract demanded as a bribe by an official for securing the contract
    corporate espionage - theft of trade secrets, theft of intellectual property, or copyright piracy
    commission/fee - used by a UK company or individual to obtain the services of an agent/agency for assistance in securing a commercial contract

  2. Now I know why my ward councillors ignore me I haven't greased their palms with silver.

  3. The level of all kinds of payment to councillors should be decided by a new independent standards board made up of non-politicians, who can also look into hate campaigns and politically motavated attacks

  4. Dont forget that all this is going to change. Bayford said so.

  5. Watching Dad's Army film the other night, Corporal Jones swayed Mannering and John Le M's decision with sausages. How old and rife is this bribing method!

  6. Tory leader Bayford has said lots of things and done nothing positive, so dont make me laugh, just look at the company he keeps