Localism Bill

Memorandum submitted by Kathleen English (L 109)

Summary:

Re abolition of Standards Board Regime, to express concern that where local authorities choose to have a Standards Committee, lay members will no longer have voting rights

1. I write as some-one who has been an independent (i.e. lay) member and chairman of a District Council Standards Committee.

2. I am concerned that, while the Localism Bill permits Councils to establish/maintain Standards Committees, it repeals the parts of the Local Government Act 2000 which gave voting powers to co-opted (lay)members of Standards Committees. 

3. It is my experience that much of the public’s confidence in decisions made by a Standards Committee arises from the inclusion of non-Councillors in that committee.

4. Moreover, better decisions on matters of a disciplinary nature are made by bodies which include lay members, who can bring a fresh eye to the situation. Consequently the disciplinary committees of most professions include such lay members.

5. Lay members without voting rights will be of little effect.

February 2011