Councillors To Decide How Their Conduct Is Policed

Council Chambers at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

Councillors are being asked to decide how they want to have their own conduct and behaviour scrutinised and policed.

The government is abolishing the Standards Committees from 2012.

Our council has one and it’s the body that can potentially bring action against a councillor who breaks the rules.

Councillors will be asked whether they want to set up their own watchdog as a replacement.

The Government has made no provision to replace the current system for dealing with councillors who bully, are rude, disclose confidential information or bring the town hall into disrepute, although from 2012 serious offences involving financial impropriety could be dealt with as a criminal matter by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The current Standards Panel has investigated a member on allegations of not declaring an interest when discussing a relative’s land. They also dealt with complaints about Gordon Bilsborough’s YouTube song lampooning the battery rocks protesters and looked into reports that a member had held up a sheet of paper with the words “pack of lies” during a heated council debate.

The move has been brought by the government to save cash used on investigations. Some of the work here has cost thousands of pounds as expert third parties had to be brought in from the mainland to assess whether there was a case to answer.