Localism Bill

Memorandum submitted by Daventry District Council’s Standards Committee (L 124)

Daventry District Council’s Standards Committee recently considered the proposals contained in the Localism Bill to abolish to Standards Board regime, the national Code of Conduct, and Standards Committees in their present form. The Committee is very much of the view that, in order to maintain public confidence, it is crucial that a framework of local accountability remains in place and, in this respect, the Committee endorses the recent press statement by Sir Christopher Kelly on behalf of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Following on from this, Standards Committee would ask the Localism Public Bill Committee to consider:

· That a national Code of Code be established so that everyone knows what is necessary to promote and maintain high standards. This would prevent any confusion for members who, under the present proposals detailed in the Localism Bill could have different codes when serving on Parish, District and County Councils.

· That Standards Committees should be retained as a requirement and should be chaired by independent members.

· That steps should be taken to simplify the local Standards framework. However, it is important that the framework continues to be accessible and does not dilute the importance of a robust complaints framework.

· That, whilst it is agreed that Standards for England should be abolished, it is nevertheless important that the body which replaces it maintains the skill set to deal with and advise on the Code of Conduct in an effective and efficient manner. It is suggested that this function could be undertaken by the Local Government Association, complementing its ethical audit role.

February 2011