The standards committee that investigated complaints about district and parish councillors in the Breckland area was formally abolished last night.

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The standards committee included independent members and representatives of parish councils in addition to Breckland councillors, but the government’s Localism Bill removed the requirement that it exist.

Responsibility for investigating complaints about councillors will be transferred to Breckland Council’s audit committee, whose members are all Breckland councillors. It will form a three-member hearing panel to hear cases referred to it by the council’s monitoring officer.

Members of the standards committee had fiercely opposed the changes, but it was recommended by the cabinet on May 8 and rubber-stamped by the full council on Thursday May 24.

Two councillors abstained on the vote, with Shirley Matthews voicing concerns about the lack of an appeals panel.

Councillors also appointed Fiona Anthony to the newly-created position of Independent Person, who must be consulted about any decisions about complaints against councillors.

She is a non-practising solicitor and is also an independent member of the Norfolk Police Authority.

5 comments

  • I can't help noticing that the independent members has all of the "right" qualifications; member of the Norfolk Police Authority and part time employee of NCC legal services. Wasn't the idea to choose someone who had no connection with local government? What is the point otherwise?

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    Nemesis

    Sunday, May 27, 2012

  • These are the same 3-member panels were very popular with the old USSR too.

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    Peter Watson

    Friday, May 25, 2012

  • Who really cares enough to get this malaodourous decision changed? It won't be done by local councillors, only by popular revolt.

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    bedoomed

    Saturday, May 26, 2012

  • Keeping it in-house then. No doubt the 3 person panel will be made up of those councillors who have the time to attend - I wonder if they will be the Tory members?

    Report this comment

    greenwitch

    Sunday, May 27, 2012

  • A one stop absolution panel for naughty councillors, most likely Tory dominated. One expects that the Independent member will apply as much rigour and moralrectitude to judging councillors misdemeanours, as she has to apply scrutiny to Norfolk police Authority.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, May 25, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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