Standards Board

The Stadards Board for England – another daft New Labour idea consigned to the dustbin, sorry showing my age, I meant to say the correctly coloured wheelie bin.

Over the years my father has been on various police and local government Standards Boards and so I had a front row seat in watching how this organisation started as a relative simply code of conduct which was a very sensible guideline for Councillors to follow to make sure Councillor did not mix their own business interests with council life.

And indeed over 25 years in business I seen some Councillors be ‘confused’ on this point and thought this was an excellent idea but like most things under the Labour Government it got completely out of control.

But over time I have seen the Standards documentation grow to the point where you would need a shopping trolley to carry it about and is so complex that it requires a team of solicitors in each Authority to offer procedural guidance to vast committees, one Councillor told me that he was hauled in front of one joint committee whereby he sat on one side of a table and he faced 16 people on the other side, absolutely ridiculous! or another Councillor who told me he was reported by a resident and a full investigation costing thousands of pounds was undertaken because he had failed to respond to a letter from that resident, a letter he said he did not recall ever receiving!

But even more worrying was its affront to democracy, in the worst of authorities it has become a political weapon and used to threaten other Councillors with being reported, as this point it moved from the ridiculous to dangerous. Councillors must not be confused between Business and their role on the Council, Councillors should be polite and respectful to each other, officers and the public; but Councillors are politicians who live and die at elections accountable to those who elected them and can kick them out. If they do wrong them they should be prosecuted in the courts that the law courts not the Kangaroo courts promoted by the Standards Board for England.

In a previous blog I commented that I took time out from the Party Conference last year in Manchester to find and stare in wonderment at the beautiful high rise office that was the shinning citadel to an organisation that put Councillors through a kangaroo court and used Barristers to prosecute them.

So you can imagine I allowed myself a small chuckle when I read the detailed timetable for abolition and wind up of Standards for England in the New Year and imagined the for sale sign outside the offices.

What the localism bill proposes is democratic, provides accountability, and clear as to what action can be taken against Councillors who get ‘confused’.

It is quite the right way to proceed and is not the complete waste of time, money and an insult to democracy that was the Standards Baord for England, goodbye and good riddance, after all we managed a 1000 years of democracy in England without it and we can survive a 1000 more!

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Kerry Buist on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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