The Adjudication Panel’s annual report for the year ending 31 March 2006 includes its formal response to a review of the code of conduct which was carried out by the Standards Board for England in 2005 at the request of Ministers. It can be viewed at www.adjudicationpanel.co.uk/documents/pdf_annual_report_2006_for website2.pdf, and copies have also been placed in the Library of the House.
The Department for Communities and Local Government has issued no guidance on bias. This is a legal concept which the courts have always applied to local authority decision-making. It predates the code of conduct and is not altered by it.
The standards board’s guidance, Lobby Groups, Dual-Hatted Members and the Code of Conduct, published in September 2004, contains some general advice on bias in order to draw a distinction between this and the separate issue of personal and prejudicial interests, which is covered by the code. The board issued a press release on 19 September which also referred to this issue.