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Make An Anti-Whitewashing Open Confidence Poll For Public Enquiries

Comment 7th July 2010

A number of enquiries conducted in the past decade (e.g. the Hutton Enquiry, or the recent enquiry into the ClimateGate affair) have been lead by those with questionable allegiances to the state or to those who are the subject of the enquiry.

To deter this from happening in future, you could for example create website that published all official public enquiries and their documents, and held a public poll of confidence on the enquiry and open it up to comments.

This would be available for all to see, including the media, and would help deter the temptation for the government to 'choose the right people to investigate themselves' to determine the outcome.

That is not a fair enquiry.

Why does this matter?

Holding the government to account is important, and getting to the bottom of matters is also important. Public enquiries are one of the most visible ways in which the government is held to account in its choice of actions.

The fundamental floor in that model is that the government chooses those who investigate the issue. That is a flaw in the approach; it needs to be redressed.

Because the government is a single organisation in itself, one of the most sensible ways to do this would be to hold choice of investigator, and outcome, publicly accountable, for example via a website which would form a dialogue between the public and the government on the way it has investigated itself.

This would be perpetuated, not set up for a single enquiry or as a "one-off".

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