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Local Government: Code of Conduct

Volume 691: debated on Tuesday 8 May 2007

My honourable friend the Minister for Local Government (Phil Woolas) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In April, the Government issued the Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) Order 2007, promulgating a simpler, clearer and more proportionate model code of conduct for local councillors. The order came into effect on 3 May.

The revised code delivers the promise we gave in the local government White Paper, Strong and Prosperous Communities, last October, that the Government would provide a simpler, clearer and more proportionate code of conduct for local authority members and amend the rules on personal and prejudicial interest to support members’ advocacy role.

These changes to the code remove the barriers, which have prevented councillors speaking up for their constituents. In particular, for example, members of a council’s planning or licensing committee will have more opportunities to represent their constituents on planning and licensing issues that affect their wards. The changes also ensure that the remit of the code in respect of conduct in a member’s private capacity is restricted to conduct for which a criminal conviction has been received.

We have also, in particular, had regard to the over 900 responses we received to our recent consultation on the proposed changes to the code, and amended the text of the code to improve its accessibility and user-friendliness. We believe that overall the new revised code will help to maintain public confidence and trust in local government, which is necessary if councils are to fulfil their leadership role.

Copies of the order have been placed in the Libraries of the House, and circulated to local authorities and other stakeholders.