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Kent County Council has refused to publish a register of councillors’ financial interests on the Net, citing fears that members could be exposed to "unnecessary risk".

To be more precise, activists could use the information to target "individuals". Now they will have to trudge down to County Hall in Maidstone and take photocopies of the paper-only register.

KCC's decision contravenes guidelines from The Standards Board for England established in November, 2001 to scrutinise the behaviour of local authorities. The regulator recommends that all councils should post their member’s interests on the Net.

Under legislation enacted last year, each local authority had to establish a a code of conduct by May 5 this year.

KCC's six-strong Standards Committee told the Kent Messenger that it expects the "register to be made available at some point in the future".

Which is noble. We empathise with the KCC councillors' entirely understandable caution, even if their wish for privacy rides roughshod over accountability to their voters. But at least they have the choice to retain some privacy – unlike the rest of us. ®

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