Sorry seems to be the hardest word
How long does it take to say sorry? Former county council leader David Parsons has not made a formal apology for breaching the councillors' code of conduct over his expenses for trips to Europe even though he was told to do so by the standards committee in June. He did apologise to the committee at the time but was told to do so formally in writing.
He says there are various reasons for the delay among which is a discussion taking place with council officers about the wording. However, the public will not understand why it takes more than three months to do something as simple as making a written apology and neither do we.
This latest episode in this saga makes the sanction handed down to Councillor Parsons look even more feeble than it did already.
The standards committee found he had disregarded four key principles – honesty, integrity, accountability and leadership. Imagine what would have happened if a council employee had been found to have behaved in a similar way.
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However, the sanctions available to standards committees are severely limited and Councillor Parsons received only a censure, and an instruction to issue a written apology and undertake training on the code of conduct.
The standards committee system is being disbanded to be replaced by a new set up – which surely needs more teeth.
The Leicester Mercury's I Love Local Shops campaign draws to a close today after six weeks. During that time we have highlighted many great independent stores, featured lots of messages of support from readers and received the backing of David Cameron, Nick Clegg and retail guru Mary Portas.
In fact, we have been inundated with responses from readers and that shows just how passionately people feel about this issue.
We are delighted this campaign has received so much support and we think it sends out an incredibly positive message to all those local businesses which are working incredibly hard to make our shopping areas great places to visit.