The Standards Board for England, a new independent body to keep an eye on probity in local government, will be chaired by Tony Holland, who currently chairs the Northern Ireland Parades Commission.The Local Government Act 2000 has revolutionised some of local government’s long-held systems – such as decision-making in a series of time-consuming – but largely open – committee meetings.
But with more power held by fewer councillors, often only reporting decisions after they have been made, there is the scope for standards of professional conduct to come into question.
The Board will give guidance to authorities on how to ensure members carry out their duties to the highest standards. Where those standards are not upheld, it will be able to investigate.
A consultation paper on a new model code of conduct for members has been published, setting out the rules councillors will be required to observe while carrying out their duties.
It will be the basis for Standards Board investigations and tribunal judgements.
Responses to the consultation paper on the model code are required by 27 April 2001.