Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said:
“This government has increased accountability and transparency over councillors’ interests, to accompany greater power and freedoms for local councils.
“Councils should adopt a Code of Conduct that reflects the Nolan principles on conduct in public life, with councillors declaring any private interest that relate to their public duties, and councillors must take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
“In addition, it is now a criminal offence to fail to declare or register disclosable pecuniary interests - which includes any employment or trade carried out for profit or gain. The register of councillors’ interests must be published online by the council.
“Councillors should act in an open and transparent way, to avoid conflicts of interest on issues such as planning applications or benefiting financially from the issuing of council contracts.”
CPALC (Communities, Parish and Local Councils) would wish to observe...
- That the changes to the code of conduct have removed any external oversight on the code of conduct relating to Town and Parish councillors
- That there has never been any external ombudsman covering the operation of Town and Parish Councils
- Principal Authorities have no real powers to control or sanction errant councils or councillors
- There is no legal requirement for the vast majority of “Local” councils i.e. Town and Parish councils to have a website or online presence
- Where a local council does have a website it is extremely rare to find councillors register of interest published
- There is no legal definition of what constitutes a Town or Parish council website
- That the Localism Act removed whatever vestiges of control were in place to protect residents and councillors
The use of the phrase “Councillors should act in an open and transparent way” is a damning indictment of your failure and attitude. Surely your statement should have read...
“Councillors MUST act in an open and transparent way”