Sun, 19 Sep 2010
“If a councillor behaves ineffectively or irresponsibly then it’s a matter for the electorate not an unelected quango. This Government is freeing councillors from central prescription and top down bureaucracy so they can get on with their job."
Speaking at a reception for the New Local Government Network in Liverpool this evening, Liberal Democrat Communities and Local Government Minister Andrew Stunell will announce that serious misconduct for personal gain by councillors will be a criminal act, while petty local vendettas will no longer get a hearing as the unpopular standards board regime is axed.
Under new plans the public will also have greater confidence to challenge poor local services. The Government intends to give the Local Government Ombudsman real teeth. For the first time local authorities will be legally compelled to implement the Ombudsman’s findings.
He will also announce the Government will allow councils to decide whether they wish to have a Mayor or Leader and Cabinet system or a Committee system.
Commenting, Andrew Stunell said:
“The Standards Board regime ended up fuelling petty complaints and malicious vendettas.
“Nearly every council had investigations hanging over them – most of which would be dismissed but not before reputations were damaged and taxpayer money was wasted.
“Frivolous allegations undermined local democracy and discouraged people from running for public office.
“That’s why we are axing the unpopular and unelected standards board regime. Instead we will legislate to ensure that if a councillor is corrupt and abuses their office for personal gain they will be dealt with in the criminal courts.
“If a councillor behaves ineffectively or irresponsibly then it’s a matter for the electorate not an unelected quango.
“This Government is freeing councillors from central prescription and top down bureaucracy so they can get on with their job.
“In the future councillors must expect to be judged at the ballot box by an electorate with real access to their accounts and personal interests in a new transparent era.”