Decision Maker: Standards Committee
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
To note the review by the Committee on
Standards in Public Life
The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) presented the report on Local Government Ethical Standards. She explained that that long awaited review Local Government Ethical Standards had been published by the Committee on Standards in Public Life on 30 January 2019. The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) outlined that the review had concluded that evidence supported that the vast majority of councillors maintained high standards of conduct however, there was clear evidence nationally of misconduct by some councillors and the majority of cases related to bullying or harassment or other disruptive behaviour. In addition the review was also concerned with the risks to standards under the current arrangements, as a result of the current rules around declaring interests, gifts and hospitality and the increased complexity of local government decision-making. The review had concluded that there was no reason to reintroduce a centralised body and that local authorities should retain ultimate responsibility for implementing and applying the Seven Principles of Public Life in Local Government.
The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) highlighted that the report had identified a number of recommendations and best practice and she explained that the Council currently undertook a number of areas of the identified best practice. However, it had been proposed that best practice would be considered further as part of the Committee’s work programme. She stated that Cumbria Monitoring Officers and Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC) would be considering further recommendations and look further to the Local Government Association regarding the creation of an updated model code of conduct.
She invited feedback from Members and explained that it was her view that if there were any changes, that these should aim to be agreed and adopted countywide at Parish as well as District and County level. The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) outlined the consultation undertaken and explained that the Independent Person had been consulted and had agreed that the recommendations would enhance the role of the Independent Person and provide protection in relation to the recommendations made in the review.
Members considered the List of Recommendations and the List of Best Practice as at appendices 1 and 2 to the report and undertook to provide their individual comments to the Monitoring Officer.
RESOLVED – That
(1) the Review of Local Government Ethical Standards report be noted; and
(2) the Monitoring Officer to consider the list of best practice recommendations and discuss with the Cumbrian Monitoring Officers and CALC any potential revisions to the existing code of conduct and/or guidance and to take account of these recommendations for a further report back to Committee.
Report author: Debbie Storr
Publication date: 30/04/2019
Date of decision: 23/04/2019
Decided at meeting: 23/04/2019 - Standards Committee