I have today laid before the House four model codes of conduct for members of relevant authorities. The four are:
The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) Order 2000—which covers principal local authorities, the Greater London Authority, the City of London, the Scilly Isles Council, Fire and joint authorities;
The Parish Councils (Model Code of Conduct) Order 2000;
The Police Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (England and Wales) Order 2000.
The Government have embarked on a radical programme to modernise local government and deliver better services. Strong and effective community leadership is at the heart of this vision. It is essential that communities trust those in local government and, equally, that members have clear guidelines under which they must operate.
The code, published today, meets those two objectives. It will help safeguard and raise standards of conduct in local government—ensuring that the highest professional standards are met by those who run our councils and represent our communities.
Authorities now have six months in which to adopt their own codes of conduct, which must contain the mandatory provisions set out in the relevant model codes.
I believe the code is a considerable improvement on its predecessor. It is easier to understand, and easier for members to apply to their day to day duties. We need to keep the provisions under review, to ensure their workability and also to make sure that the public has the reassurance it needs that those they elect really are serving only the public interest. I shall from time to time ask the Standards Board for England to review the efficacy of the code, or specific provisions within it, and provide advice to Ministers on whether it can be improved.
I will ensure that copies of all four codes are placed in the House Libraries.