Nolan may investigate watchdogs

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The Independent Online
Privatised industry regulators may be the next target for the Committee on Standards in Public Life, its chairman Lord Nolan said yesterday.

The committee will consider whether to mount the investigation after it has concluded its current inquiry into local public spending bodies. "We very well may. I wouldn't like to go further at the moment," Lord Nolan said.

He added that the regulators would be within the terms of reference of his committee.

Calls for an investigation came in the wake of the row over Peter Davis, the National Lottery regulator, who was attacked for accepting free flights from a major backer of the lottery operator Camelot against advice from the Department of National Heritage.

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Lord Nolan said: "The suggestion has been made over the current case that it would be sensible to see in more detail what regulates the regulators and to whom they are accountable.

"I've no doubt we will be considering whether we should at look the subject."

A source close to the committee confirmed it would stick to its convention of not revisiting individual cases, but there were issues for examination.

These would be likely to include the degree of accountability between the watchdogs and the Government, and the kinds of action available when a regulator strayed beyond the bounds of proper conduct.