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Public lecture: The Role of UK Parliamentary Commissioner against Corruption

The British Embassy to Bulgaria and the Center for the Study of Democracy, acting as a Secretariat of Coalition 2000, jointly organized on September 19, 2001 a discussion on the role of the UK Parliamentary Commissioner on Public Standards.

Ms. Elizabeth Filkin, the UK Parliamentary Commissioner, delivered a lecture on "How the United Kingdom's Parliament Tries to Win Public Respect: The Work of the Parliamentary Commissioner on Public Standards". A graduate of Birmingham University, Ms. E. Filkin worked as a lecturer in social sciences in the University of Liverpool, Member of the British Auditors' Association, Member of the Board of London University of Economics and Chair of the Consultative Committee on Legal Support to the Chamber of Lords to UK Parliament. In 1999 she was appointed for a UK Parliamentary Commissioner on public standards, who considers matters relating to standards of conduct in all holders of public office in view of maintaining the public respect to UK Parliament's House of Commons.

During the lecture Ms. E. Filkin outlined the major functions and responsibilities of her office to maintain Registers of Members' Interests for the financial interests of MPs. A database, open for the public, is permanently maintained for the MPs' memberships in companies' boards, bonuses and gifts receive d and their overseas trips, allowing to track down whether MPs follow the public standards. A consultative support is offered to MPs how to keep to the standards in view of not conflicting them, but balancing the financial and public interests. Another major responsibility of the Commissioner's Office is to investigate and process complaints and appeals against MPs to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, while following proper procedures and within respective competencies.

The lecture was followed by a lunchtime discussion on the experience gleaned by the United Kingdom authorities in this important and challenging area of work with invitees from the politicians, public officials, the Judiciary, NGOs, the diplomats, representatives of international organizations, and journalists. During her talks with the invitees Ms. E. Filkin stated that corruption could be overwhelmed only by finding parallel solutions to a number of problems, and by proper functioning of the various areas of public life, with the support of the public and the media.



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