One of the aspects of the proposed Localism Bill is the Abolition of the
Standards Board regime contained in the Local Government Act of 2000.
This regime allowed local councillors to be suspended for misconduct. This
will no longer be available once the Localism Bill comes into force at the end
of 2011.

It will also mean that local authorities do not have to have a Standards
Committee anymore unless they do so on a volunteer basis! Bet Broadland
will opt not to have one.

Once this bill has been passed any Councillor found guilty of misconduct can
only be censored or offered further training. Full details can be found at:

Local authorities and their members may welcome a move to arrangements
where they have discretion as to how to regulate the conduct of their
members. However, whilst the abolition of detailed requirements relating to
matters such as investigations, hearings and reports may ease the pressure
on their resources, they will need to find a way to ensure that they comply with
their duty to promote and maintain a high standard of conduct. We will wait to
see how the local authorities that make up the Greater Norwich Development
Partnership (GNDP) plan to do this and how it will apply to GNDP itself!

There is however still time to lodge any complaint against a local councillor
under the previous standards regime. Or one could wait until the new
legislation comes into force as one of the consequences of the Localism Bill
is the provision for criminal offences if a member or co-opted member acts
in breach of regulations relating to members’ interests by: failing to register
interests; failing to disclose them before participating in business of their
authority relating to the interest, or taking part in business of their authority
contrary to any prohibition or restriction imposed by the relevant regulations.

We will monitor this very carefully and ensure that Minutes are scrutinised for
any breaches.

1 comment:

  1. I regret to say that these relaxations will not make much difference in Broadland District Council. They already think that they above the law and can do what they like.
    Experience suggests that they are right.
    The Government supports them now but once the rule of law has gone so has everything else; probity, sense of responsibility, the service ethic and honesty.