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Lighting up standards

20 September 2013

Trade unions are in the spotlight again today. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has updated previous guidance in relation to the interests that local elected members must declare under the standards regime. These interests must now include union affiliations which, DCLG says, the public have been “kept in the dark about” for too long.

This has unleashed a torrent of criticism against DCLG by trade unions and other local government spokespersons who claim that, firstly, the old standards regime, which the current government scrapped, had required such declarations and, secondly, a lot of local authorities have retained such a requirement. Both of these points do not do anything to help a Coalition policy that is already beleaguered.

The new standards regime was meant to remove the burden of what was seen by some as a very cumbersome and time consuming complaints system. Before it was implemented Whitehall had already conceded by including the requirement for a written code of conduct. This will probably be seen as another backtracking step.

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