The Committee considered a report from the
Monitoring Officer on the Nolan Committee’s assessment of
whether existing structures, processes and practices are conducive
to high standards of conduct in local government. The Nolan
Committee’s report made recommendations for improvement to
government in relation to the legislative regime, and best practice
recommendations to local government.
Key recommendations for government to consider
were that local authorities should regain the power to suspend
members (for up to 6 months) as a sanction for breaching the Code;
the criminal offence regime in relation to Disclosable Pecuniary
Interests should be abolished but the classes of registrable
interests broadened; a register of gifts and hospitality be
re-established; and independent members of standards committees
should be allowed to vote.
Local government would have to await the
government's response to the recommendations. In the meantime it
was within the Council’s power to review and act on the best
The Monitoring Officers for all Worcestershire
local authorities had reviewed the current Members’ Code of
Conduct (the “pan-Worcestershire Code”) and the best
practice recommendations. The Monitoring Officer’s report
included a commentary on how these are currently being
There remained a consensus that a
pan-Worcestershire Code remains the best approach for the benefit
of the public, members, and good governance. The Monitoring
Officers considered that the current Code was fit for purpose, but
would benefit from a few relatively small amendments flowing from
some of the Nolan best practice recommendations relevant to the
Code. A revised draft was attached to the report, showing the
proposed changes. This draft was currently being considered for
approval by all Worcestershire local authorities’ standards
and ethics committees and it would be open to the parish councils
in Worcestershire to also adopt the revised draft.
The Monitoring Officer responded to questions
from Committee members on detailed aspects of the report.
The Committee concluded that the draft Code of
Conduct set out at Appendix 2 should be endorsed and recommended to
the Council for adoption.
With regard to the Council’s Complaints
Procedures, the Standards Committee last reviewed and approved
these in 2014. In response to the best practice recommendations and
based on experience of using the Procedures, the Monitoring Officer
proposed to review those Procedures and report to a future meeting
of the Standards Committee on any potential changes to the
Complaints Procedures which may be beneficial.
RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:
note the recommendations of the report published by the
National Committee on Standards in Public Life on ethical standards
in local government, as set out in Appendix 1 of the
note the discussions which have taken place between the
Monitoring Officers of the principal authorities within
Worcestershire in response to those recommendations;
endorse the principle of a pan-Worcestershire Code of
Conduct for members;
endorse the draft Code of Conduct set out at Appendix 2
and recommend that Council adopts it; and
note that a further report will be brought to Committee
following a review of ...
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