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As CABE told the AJ before the publication of its piece on Darren Parker (AJ 27.07.06), we take very seriously the risk of conflicts of interest arising in its work - and of perceived conflicts of interest.

CABE employees are free to stand for office in local government elections on the understanding that their interest is declared in CABE's Staff Register of Interests. Parker followed the guidance, declaring his intention to stand well in advance of the 2006 local elections and subsequently declaring his campaign successful.

Once elected, Parker was reminded that if any Hackney cases/projects arose in his work at CABE, he must declare an immediate interest and withdraw from CABE's engagement in the project, or any discussion of it, to ensure he had absolutely no involvement, or potential conict of interest relating to Hackney.

Our guidance is among the most stringent within the public sector and all CABE staff receive regular reminders of its contents. Furthermore, we manage Parker's work to ensure that he is not involved in CABE's work in Hackney. He had no involvement in the Dalston cases at CABE.

With respect to his role as a councillor, it is for Hackney Council's monitoring officer to advise its councillors on how it handles personal/professional interests. CABE cannot interfere in the governance of a local authority. We understand that the Council's monitoring officer advised Parker that he had no prejudicial interest in this case.

Richard Simmons, chief executive, CABE

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