Workforce, Pensions and Training

30.01.19

Ethics review calls for greater transparency and new local powers to suspend councillors

New powers for local authorities to be able to suspend councillors who breach the code of conduct without allowances for up to six months have been recommended alongside a number of other ethical recommendations by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

In its review of local government ethical standards, published following a year-long review and consultation, the committee has called for council standards boards to be given more power to act on poor conduct from councillors.

The recommendations would give local authorities the power to suspend members for the “most serious or repeated breaches” or violations of the code of conduct – most likely relating to harassment, bullying, and failures to declare financial interests.

The first report of its kind since the Standards Board of England was abolished in 2012, it calls on councils across the UK to be give more powers in regards to transparency, enforcement, and for local authorities to retain ownership of their own codes of conducts.

Its recommendations include revised rules on declaring interests, gifts and hospitality, for the ‘independent person’ to be given a larger role, and introducing a right of appeal for suspended councillors to “enhance the impartiality and fairness of the process.”

Launching the report, the chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life Lord Evans said: “Our recommendations would enable councillors to be held to account effectively and would enhance the fairness and transparency of the standards process.

“The evidence we received supports the view that the vast majority of councillors and officers maintain high standards of conduct. There is, however, clear evidence of misconduct by some councillors.

“High standards of conduct in local government are needed to demonstrate that those decisions are taken in the public interest and to maintain the public’s confidence.”

Lord Evans also said there is a risk to the standards of conduct under the current system, and that all local authorities need to develop and maintain an organisational culture supportive of high ethical standards.

Top image: Royal United Services Institute

 

Enjoying PSE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Neath Port Talbot Council threatens to pull out of £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal

17/04/2019Neath Port Talbot Council threatens to pull out of £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal

A council has threatened to pull out of Swansea Bay’s £1.3bn city deal unless it starts delivering projects in the next six months. ... more >
Flintshire council takes over litter enforcement services from controversial Kingdom

17/04/2019Flintshire council takes over litter enforcement services from controversial Kingdom

Flintshire County Council has taken over litter enforcement services in the county and urged residents to “take responsibility” over ... more >
City council rejoins ICS after reforms agreed in privatisation and accountability row

17/04/2019City council rejoins ICS after reforms agreed in privatisation and accountability row

Nottingham City Council is to rejoin its local NHS integrated care system (ICS) after significant reforms were made to the way the system runs in... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
New unitary authorities formally takeover from Dorset’s nine councils

01/04/2019New unitary authorities formally takeover from Dorset’s nine councils

Two new unitary authorities have officially taken control of local government in Dorset following the merging of nine local authorities. Given the go-ahead by parliament in May last year, th... more >
Spending ban over Northamptonshire County Council lifted

29/03/2019Spending ban over Northamptonshire County Council lifted

Northamptonshire County Council will have its spending ban lifted after commissioners reported the authority is “now living within its own means.” The section 114 notice banned a... more >

the raven's daily blog

Self-build builds potential for more and better homes

15/04/2019Self-build builds potential for more and better homes

The director of The Right to Build Task Force – which advises stakeholders on bringing on more custom and self-build homes – Mario Wolf, who is currently on secondment from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, discusses challenges the public sector needs to engage with to deliver housing supply growth. In... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Connecting the North East

15/04/2019Connecting the North East

Cabinet member for economic regeneration at Northumberland County Council Richard Wearmouth outlines the plans to reintroduce passenger services ... more >
What about social care?

15/04/2019What about social care?

Glen Garrod, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), outlines the challenges facing the social care workforce... more >
How public sector IT can exploit the last 'big things'

15/04/2019How public sector IT can exploit the last 'big things'

Martin Ferguson, director of policy and research at Socitm, outlines the technology-related trends to look out for in the public sector throughou... more >
Brexit's systemic fallout

15/04/2019Brexit's systemic fallout

The third in a trilogy of Brexit articles for PSE, Chris Painter, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham City University, considers the wider constitut... more >

interviews

Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

public sector focus

View all News