Agenda item






Options considered:

This report informs Members of the outcome of the Committee on Standards in Public Life review of Local Government Ethical Standards.






The best practice identified is, in most cases, already operating in a number of local authorities. Taken as a whole, this best practice represents a benchmark that any local authority in England can and should implement in their own organisation.










Reasons for



It is recommended that the Committee agrees:


1.  To note the report and the contents of the review.


2.  To endorse the actions contained within paragraph 3.6 in relation to Best Practice recommendations.



To keep Members up-to-date with developments with the ethical standards regime and seek approval for actions to be taken in light of the review.




(Papers relied on to write the report, which do not contain exempt information and which are not published elsewhere)



Cabinet Member(s)


Ward(s) affected




Contact Officer, telephone number and email:

Emma Duncan, 01263 516045,



The Monitoring Officer introduced the Report and informed Members that the Committee had considered the initial Consultation on Ethical Standards at a previous  meeting, and had resolved to issue a collective response. The Report before the Committee sought to update Members on the outcome of the consultation.


Questions and Discussion


The Monitoring Officer informed Members that the consultation had arisen as a result of concerns regarding the limitations of Standards Committee sanctions. It had been suggested that Standards Committees’ should have their powers returned to be able to suspend Members for a specified period.


The Report included a best practice guidance for local authorities, which the Monitoring Officer suggested the Council was almost compliant with, and could be fully compliant with Members agreement. Cllr J Rest agreed that the guide complied with many of the Council’s existing standards, as most were either statutory or common sense. It was confirmed that the Council had to comply with legislation, therefore most of the practices were already adhered to. The individual best practice recommendations were reviewed case by case. It was noted on best practice area 1 that a new bullying and harassment code could be adopted, though it may be more beneficial to await the LGA’s updated version to avoid confusion between codes.


The Council was compliant on best practice areas 2 to 6. For area 7, it was noted that the Council already had an independent person, though could benefit from the recruitment of a second. The Council was compliant in best practice areas 8 to 10, though on area 11, the Monitoring Officer stated that Clerks should be advised that complaints must be made by the Parish Council on behalf of the Clerk.


On best practice area 12, it was suggested that it would be difficult for the Monitoring Officer to provide the level of support suggested to all 121 Parishes, however the Council would offer any assistance it could. Discussion was held regarding the possibility of centralising Parish Clerks, though it was suggested that this would receive a poor reception from Parish and Town Councils. Cllr L Shires added that doing so could also take away much needed income from Clerks and damage trust in the District Council. It was accepted that centralised training for the Clerks could be beneficial. The Monitoring Officer suggested that this could be considered as part of the customer focus theme within the emerging Corporate Plan, and that the Council must ensure that resources were directed to the areas for the highest impact.


Cllr N Dixon asked how many times the independent person had been consulted with in the past year, to which the Monitoring Officer confirmed that they had been consulted on all 24 complaints, and had provided a useful sense check to determine direction.


The Council was noted to be compliant in best practice areas 13 to 15.


The recommendations were proposed by Cllr J Rest and seconded by Cllr L Shires.




1.    To note the Report and the contents of the review


2.    To endorse the actions contained within paragraph 3.6 in relation to Best Practice recommendations

Supporting documents: