15 MARCH 1975, Page 3

Local corruption

Mr John Stevenson, who is the chief executive of Buckinghamshire County Council, has sent a memorandum to each of the 5,000 employees of the council advising them on how to avoid corruption, especially when it is disguised in the form of gifts and hospitality. In his memorandum Mr Stevenson says: "The best safeguard against impropriety or mere suspicion is complete openness." Mr Stevenson is to be congratulated on the forthrightness of his advice, but his memorandum is also a timely reminder of the fact that the suspicion of the ordinary citizen about standards in local government has been far from killed by the interruption of the Poulson proceedings. That call for 'openness' may also serve as a particular reminder to the Government and the Labour Party — and especially to the Lord President of the Council — that a serious response by Transport House and the National Executive of the party to grave and widespread worries about socialist local government, particularly in the north of England, is long overdue.