The way governments in Gibraltar engage private contractors often leads to comments about failings in the public administration of Gibraltar. Those broad criticisms, amongst other concerns, call for a reform of our laws.
Such reform is being considered in the UK, following a report on Misconduct in Public Office by the UK Law Commission. It was published as recently as December 2020.
OPENNESS AND TRANSPARENCY
Some concerns locally involve the allocation of legal work. A matter that is made worse by the lack, in most cases where private law firms are engaged, of tendering for the work. That unease should be mitigated, anyway, by an independent, open, and transparent contracting system.
Further, appointing private lawyers to do specific tasks costs the public purse a lot, especially when many qualified lawyers are directly employed in the public service on salaries. Those lawyers should be doing much, if not all, of that work, more so if it is drafting laws.
In other spheres of public contracting the same or similar issues arise, but they tend to be more disguised. In that wider field, without diminishing the need in the case of contracting out legal work, there is an even greater necessity for more ammunition to be incorporated into our laws to deal with misconduct.
All political parties have promised “openness and transparency”. The UK Law Commission provide clarity on how it can be delivered when conduct in the public service is involved. Our politicians no longer have any excuse not to pass the necessary laws
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