Crime Reduction

22.10.18

New disqualification rules for people guilty of serious crimes serving in councils

Rules preventing people found guilty of serious crimes from serving on local councils will be strengthened after a public consultation, the government has announced.

Local government minister Rishi Sunak announced the changes to rules that mean anyone convicted of a serious offence that results in a sentence covered under the new disqualification criteria will be banned from standing for election, or would be forced to step down if they are convicted whilst holding a post.

Sunak said the changes would “protect residents” and uphold “the values and high standards of behaviour we all expect” from our councillors.

Under current conditions, anyone convicted of an offence carrying a prison sentence of more than three months is banned from serving as a local councillor.

The new rules bring in disqualification rules in line with modern sentencing to include barriers to becoming a councillor for those given the alternatives to prison sentences.

Sundak said that “with such an important role comes great responsibility,” and that this would make sure those elected to represent their communities were accountable and held to the highest standards.

The announcement said that the changes would better reflect the rules that govern MPs where members face suspension from the House for anything that breaks the parliamentary code of conduct.

Once implemented, councils across England will have the power to prevent anyone who meets the disqualification criteria from standing as a councillor or mayor, but the rules will not apply retrospectively.

There was a public consultation open from September 2017 to December 2107 which helped form the new rules.

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Iamge credit - DNY59

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