Most town and parish councils are struggling to get to grips with the new code of conduct. Few town or parish councils have the resources, skills or inclination to set up the whole process from scratch as this would without doubt be time consuming and expensive.
Most appear to be going the district route where they adopt a code of conduct supported by their principal authority and thereby using the services of the principal authorities monitoring officer.
So far no change from the old code which was administered by the principal authority. There is however one fundamental difference. Under the new code of conduct the town or parish clerk is responsible for administering councillor dispensations.
Under the new code the principal authority has no powers whatsoever in the area of councillor dispensations. This area is now solely the preserve of the town or parish clerk.
Whilst in principle this may appear laudable the consequences could and probably will be far reaching. Bullying, pressure and persuasion may be just some of the outcomes. What however will happen when a councillor is also the clerk?
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