Appointment of Lord Evans of Weardale as Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life Contents

1The Committee on Standards in Public Life

1.The Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) is an advisory non-departmental public body sponsored and funded by the Cabinet Office. It defines its purpose as:

To examine areas of concern about the standards of conduct of public office holders, advise the Prime Minister accordingly, and to promote the highest standards of conduct across public life.1

2.The Committee has eight Members. A chair and four independent members are appointed by the Prime Minister following open competition for a non-renewable 5-year term. Three members are appointed on the recommendation of the leaders of the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats for renewable three-year terms.2

3.The current membership is:

Origin and Terms of Reference

4.The creation of the CSPL was announced in October 1994 by the then Prime Minister the Rt Hon John Major. He defined its terms of reference as:

To examine current concerns about standards of conduct of all holders of public office, including arrangements relating to financial and commercial activities, and make recommendations as to any changes in present arrangements which might be required to ensure the highest standards of propriety in public life.

For these purposes, public office should include: Ministers, civil servants and advisers; Members of Parliament and UK Members of the European Parliament; Members and senior officers of all non-departmental public bodies and of national health service bodies; non-ministerial office holders; members and other senior officers of other bodies discharging publicly-funded functions; and elected members and senior officers of local authorities.3

5.The Committee’s first report in 1995 established the “Seven Principles of Public Life” (often referred to as the “Nolan Principles”) as:

6.In November 1997 the CSPL’s terms of reference were extended by the Rt Hon Tony Blair to include:

To review issues in relation to the funding of political parties, and to make recommendations as to any changes in present arrangements.5

7.In 2013 the terms of reference were further extended by the Coalition Government to cover:

… all those involved in the delivery of public services, not solely those appointed or elected to public office …6 [including] issues relating to the ethical standards of the delivery of public services by private and voluntary sector organisations, paid for by public funds …7

Previous Chairs

8.There have been six permanent Chairs of the CSPL:

9.Rita (now Baroness) Donaghy and David Prince acted as interim Chairs between April and December 2008; and March and August 2013 respectively.8

CSPL’s Recent work and priorities

10.The CSPL defines its strategic objectives as follows:

11.In 2017–18 CSPL published reports on Intimidation in Public Life, MP’s Outside Interests and Ethical Standards for Public Service Providers.10 It has an ongoing inquiry into ethical standards in English local government.11


1 Committee on Standards in Public Life “Annual Report: 2017–18”, p 1

2 Ibid, pp 16–20 includes biographies of all the current members

3 HC Deb, 25 October 1994, col 758

5 HC Deb, 12 November 1997, col 889

6 HC Deb, 5 February 2013, 7WS

7 HL Deb, 24 February 2013, WA347

8 Lucinda Maer, “Committee on Standards in Public Life”, House of Commons Library, Briefing Paper 04888, 27 May 2015, p 8

9 CSPL, “Annual Report 2017–18” p 1

10 Ibid pp 5–6

11 Ibid p 6




Published: 11 October 2018