Skip to main content

Local Government Transparency

Volume 744: debated on Monday 22 January 2024

Steps are always being taken to improve transparency. The local government accountability framework and transparency code sets standards for transparency; it mandates the publication of certain information, such as spend. The Office for Local Government will promote transparency further by providing authoritative local government performance data on the local authority data explorer.

Being a cabinet member in a local council should require the highest level of transparency. However, I fear that is not always the case when relevant previous criminal and custodial convictions remain hidden. What advice would my hon. Friend give council leaders about how to ensure cabinet members are fully transparent about their previous convictions where relevant to their role as a cabinet member?

My hon. Friend raises an important question. At the time of appointment, all council leaders should be aware of existing disqualification criteria barring councillors who have been given a custodial sentence of three months or more, or who are registered sex offenders. If the council leader is not aware, those people who are due to be appointed should make their group leader aware of those circumstances. They have a legal obligation to declare as election candidates—this is an important issue. The Nolan principles are there for a reason: to maintain transparency and standards. If my hon. Friend wishes to write to me with the details of the case he has mentioned, I would be happy to receive his submission.