The Committee on Standards in Public Life have announced a stakeholder consultation to examine how local councils are supporting good ethical standards in local government.
The committee has called for evidence to demonstrate how effective local government “structures, processes and practices” are in light of significant changes over the past decade and will consider all levels of local government in England, including the GLA, Combined Authorities, Metro Mayors as well as contributions from think tanks, academics and members of the public.
A review of standards in local government has not been carried out since the abolition of the Standards Board for England – the national body responsible for setting and enforcing a standard code of conduct for all elected members – under the terms of the Localism Act 2011.
The review will specifically look to examine how councils are:
• Maintaining codes of conduct for local councillors
• Investigating alleged breaches fairly and with due process
• Enforcing codes and imposing sanctions for misconduct
• Declaring interests and managing conflicts of interest
• Reacting to whistleblowers
Committee member Dr Jane Martin who is leading the review said
“Robust arrangements to support ethical standards are needed to safeguard local democracy and facilitate the representative process, but also to ensure high standards of conduct by councillors. The Committee considers it is timely to undertake a health check of local government so the public can have confidence that the standards arrangements supporting local democracy are working effectively.
Dr Martin went on to add:
“We are interested in how local authorities have designed their complaints handling, scrutiny and sanctions regimes in order to maintain excellent ethical standards and how members, local government officials and the public experience them.
“The Committee would like to hear from councils and individuals who can help us understand how ethical standards issues are dealt with by local authorities.”
The consultation will be accepting evidence until the 18th May, with the committee intending on publishing the results late in 2018, details on how to submit evidence can be found here.