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Councils code of conduct to be consistent

31 October 2011

Councils and other “relevant authorities” will be required under the Localism Bill to adopt a code of conduct consistent with the Nolan Principles of Public Life as a result of amendments tabled by the government on 27 October.

The Bill originally placed a duty on councils to promote and maintain high standards of conduct. However there was no requirement to have a code of conduct so there was no firm mechanism to ascertain whether Council’s were meeting the standards.

The move comes following claims that there are “serious deficiencies” in the Bill if it were implemented as originally drafted. Clearly, a code of conduct is a step forward in giving some clarity as to what the high standards might be.

However, to be effective, standards will not only need to be consistent between authorities but there will also need to be suitable sanctions for breaches of them. The challenge for councils will be having a fair, lawful and proportionate process including a right of internal appeal to enforce the code.

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