New code of conduct for Havering Councillors

Havering Council could be able to impose its own sanctions on councillors who breach the members’ code of conduct.

The plans to introduce a new code of conduct for councillors is set to be debated at the full council meeting on Wednesday June 13.

Leader of the Havering Residents’ Association, Cllr Clarence Barrett said: “Where there is a need to deal with breaches of the code it is important that the sanctions that can be applied are clear to everyone concerned, however the government have not provided any guidance on this or other parts of the code, which gives the potential for ambiguity.”

The changes mean that the current Standards regime which deals with complaints about members will cease and a new Code of conduct introduced.

Part of the Localism Act 2011, it means that the ability to suspend or disqualify members will be removed and Local Authorities will be able to decide for themselves what sanctions can be imposed.

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An independent person, along with the council’s monitoriing officer will edeal with initial complaints which can then be escalted to an Adjudication and Review Sub-Committeee, made up of councillors to take matters further and to decide, if applicable what santion to impose.

Cllr Barrett said: “For the large majority of councillors this Code of Conduct simply spells out how they conduct themselves anyway, without the need for a rule book.

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“Ultimately, there needs to be a common sense balance between public expectation of elected members, mutual respect between councillors and the maturity to deal with conflict in a sensible way”.

The new code is based around the existing seven Nolan Principles of Conduct and have been named after Lord Nolan who chaired the initial Committee on Standards in Public Life in 1994.

The even points include members showing selflessness, integrity, openness and honesty.

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