Headlines: May 14th, 2008

A former local authority planner and chief executive is to be the new chair of the Standards Board for England. Dr Robert Chilton, who takes up the post in July, has held senior positions at the Audit Commission and the Local Government Commission and moves to the Board as it changes to become a ‘light touch’ regulator offering guidance to councils.

Dr Chilton will lead the board for a three year term and replaces Sir Anthony Holland, who has held the post for seven years. The Local Government Minister, John Healey, said Dr Chilton’s background in local government made him ideal for the job. “I am confident that he has not only the strategic vision to lead the Board in its new role as a light touch regulator, but also a deep understanding and experience of local government, which will be invaluable in ensuring the Board continues its key work of promoting the highest standards of conduct across local government,” the Minister said.

Mr. Healey paid tribute to the work of the outgoing chair and said it was through Sir Anthony’s work that the role of the Standards Board had developed and that the importance of high standards of conduct was recognised throughout local government. With the new more locally based conduct regime the Board would now provide support, advice and guidance to help local authorities deal with allegations of misconduct by councillors.

Robert Chilton began his links with local government in 1965 when he worked in regional planning. Then, after studying at Cambridge, he worked in local authority planning in Haringey, Lewisham, Brent and Sheffield and was Director of Housing and Property Services for Kensington and Chelsea, becoming Chief Executive of Gillingham Borough Council in 1986. He has served as Director of Local Government Studies at the Audit Commission and from June 1995 to July 1996 was Chief Executive of the Local Government Commission.