Councillor David Millican, leader of the Ealing Conservatives, provides this week's Constituency Matters political column.
Probity, integrity and transparency are of such concern that it seems barely a day goes by without a public official being in the news for some form of underhand behaviour.
The public puts trust in its elected officials and that trust should be returned. This is not least in the area of planning applications, which are worth a lot of money and have such an influence over the lives of the neighboring community.
That is why so many people are concerned about the favours given by the Labour Leader of Ealing Council towards the Labour member, elected to represent the people of Ealing on the Greater London Assembly, for the planning application to extend one of his large houses.
On the surface the facts are straightforward. Cllr Julian Bell, Labour Council Leader, personally met with Dr Onkar Sahota, Ealing's Labour GLA member, on site with Ealing Council's most senior planning official to discuss his contentious application to extensively extend his large house.
The planning system can be slow and cumbersome, so its not surprising that people are concerned when one senior elected Labour Councillor so blatantly helps another senior elected Labour official.
The issue is that most residents have to wait in the long planning queue and can't obtain such personal high level service.
However, we have established from the results of an Freedom of Information request we submitted that, when setting up the meeting, Dr Sahota wrote to Cllr Bell asking him to "do the needful" as his planning application had been "registered". We would all love know what that means.
Hence, immediately this issue became apparent, I wrote to Cllr Bell asking him to refer himself to the Council's Standards Committee, which has now agreed to investigate the case. So I wrote with a list of questions, to be investigated. I believe that members of the public would like to know why the Leader felt the need to attend personally this initial planning meeting and not any others, and what was so special about it. However another council official has written back to me saying that my straightforward questions are "out of scope" and won't be investigated.
So the whole affair has become a farce and a "whitewash".
The residents of Ealing deserve better from their publicly elected officials.