Councillors: Disciplinary Proceedings

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 21st March 2007.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

(1) what the longest period of time is for which the Standards Board can suspend a councillor; and how many cases have involved this penalty;

(2) what powers (a) a local authority and (b) the Standards Board has to suspend a councillor who is subject to criminal charges not connected to their work as a councillor.

Photo of Phil Woolas Phil Woolas Minister of State (Local Government & Community Cohesion), Department for Communities and Local Government

The Standards Board has no remit to impose sanctions on local councillors; this is a matter for either local standards committees or, in the most serious cases, the Adjudication Panel. Local standards committees are empowered to impose suspensions of up to three months; the Adjudication Panel may impose suspensions of up to one year and disqualifications of up to five years.

From 2003-04 to date, the Adjudication Panel has imposed a sanction of five years disqualification in three cases, and a sanction of one year's suspension in 12 cases. For the same period, local standards committees imposed a sanction of three months suspension in 82 cases.

Following the High Court judgment in the case of the London Mayor last October, doubt has been cast on the extent to which the remit of the code of conduct can extend to behaviour by a councillor which is not directly related to his or her role as a member. We are therefore seeking, in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill, to amend the Local Government Act 2000 to allow the remit of the model code of conduct to include the behaviour of members in their private capacity, if it involves criminal activity, as well as official capacity.

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