Local authorities respond to 'integrity index' report

Update - 2pm: The County & City Management Association (CCMA) has responded to Transparency International Ireland's report ranking the country's 31 councils on three criteria: Transparency, Accountability and Ethics.

The CCMA said: "Some accusations made by Transparency International (TI) are unwarranted and do not take account of the regulatory environment in which they operate.

The body went on to claim the report contained "factual errors...which is very disappointing given that local authorities engaged with TI over recent weeks as soon as they became aware of TI’s Integrity Index."

We have reached out to the CCMA to clarify what it says are factual errors in the report.

In response to CCMA's reaction (updated May 17), Transparency Ireland (TI) said: " TI Ireland thoroughly fact-checked the report before it was published and each local authority was given an opportunity to respond to their respective scorecards. Our research team responded to every comment and query raised by councils and the final report was prepared based on their feedback...Local authorities and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government were notified of the research during 2017."

The CCMA went on to say that demand for services across all local authority areas had increased, including a rise in non-fire emergency call outs by the fire service by 10% nationally over the previous year.

The CCMA said it plans to review the TI report for any "constructive suggestions" and said that local authorities operate in a highly regulated environment governed by legislation.

Peter Carey, chairman of the CCMA, said: “Customer service and information provision are important to our remit in providing essential public services.

Funding for local authorities is primarily concentrated on delivering essential activities like managing severe weather events, roads maintenance and housing, as well as generating jobs and tourism and enhancing our communities through libraries, playing pitches, parks and leisure facilities.

"We are committed to good communications and providing accurate up-to-date information to the public and we now communicate with the public largely on Twitter and Facebook as well as by telephone, in person, written correspondence and through our websites.”

“Like many other organisations we would welcome more people, more expertise and more funding for communications but we have to be responsible in how we manage public funds, and that means prioritising delivery of essential services.”

7.10am: Here is how the country's 31 local authorities ranked for integrityGalway City Council tops Ireland's first National Integrity Index for Local Authorities.

Transparency International Ireland has ranked Ireland's 31 councils based on three criteria: Transparency, Accountability and Ethics.

Fingal County Council and South Dublin County Council came joint-second in the rankings.

Transparency International Ireland Advocacy and Research Coordinator, Kelly McCarthy, says a lot of councils need to do more.

She said: "The local authorities still have quite a bit to do to promote integrity, transparency, accountability and ethics with the 31 authorities.

"We saw that a number of local authorities seem to do okay, but there is also too many local authorities that are not doing enough publish information on their websites, they are not doing enough to promote ethics."

Table via Transparency International Ireland.

- Digital Desk

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