The Standards Board Examining Ken's Actions

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSS LYDALL

What is the Standards Board for England?

THE Standards Board was set up by the Government in March 2001 to monitor standards of conduct in local government and investigate complaints. It has nine members appointed by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott who act independently of the Government. The board also provides guidance to local authorities - including the Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London - to "deal with the dilemmas and difficult situations that arise".

How does it enforce good conduct?

Councillors must behave in accordance with a National Code of Conduct, published by the Government. Unless they introduced their own code by 5 May this year, the national code applies to their council. All councillors must sign up to the code by 5 July. Failure to do so will mean they lose their seat. The board has a duty to investigate allegations of misconduct under the code and to take action when appropriate.

What does "good conduct" mean?

Parliament has set 10 principles upon which the basis of good conduct is defined. These are: selflessness; honesty and integrity; objectivity; accountability; openness; respect for others; duty to uphold the law; leadership; stewardship; and personal judgment.

What is the board members' role?

The nine members set the board's programme of seminars and meetings, issue guidance and decide on the validity of complaints. The board "will consider any written complaints we receive which allege that someone has broken the code. If we think there is sufficient evidence then an Ethical Standards Officer (ESO) will carry out a detailed investigation to see whether the code has been broken or not". …