Magazine article Public Finance

Kelly Revamps Councillors' Code of Conduct to Relax Prejudice Rules

Magazine article Public Finance

Kelly Revamps Councillors' Code of Conduct to Relax Prejudice Rules

Article excerpt

Councillors will be allowed to address local meetings on issues in which they have a personal interest, under plans floated this week by Local Government secretary Ruth Kelly.

Kelly published the Department for Communities and Local Government's draft amended code of conduct for councillors on January 22. It suggests relaxing some of the current restrictions on members talking and voting on issues that directly affect them, such as planning applications.

'Members will be able to speak and vote on issues unless their interests in the matter are greater than those of most other people in the ward,' the draft states.

Kelly said: 'It introduces common-sense changes so that councillors will be better able to speak up for the communities they serve.'

A senior DCLG official told Public Finance that the new system would eradicate over-zealous' interpretations of'personal and prejudicial interests' across some councils. He cited examples where some authorities had tried to prevent members from discussing the installation of mobile phone masts if they had a mobile phone, and where car users could not vote on local parkand-ride proposals. …

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