Manchester City Council

Agenda item

Agenda item

Review of Local Government Ethical Standards - Committee on Standards in Public Life

The report of the City Solicitor and Monitoring Officer is enclosed.

Minutes:

A report submitted by the City Solicitor (Monitoring Officer) advised Members that the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL), has completed its latest review of local government ethical standards and published its report on 30 January 2019. The CSPL advised the Prime Minister on ethical standards across the whole of public life in England and monitored and reported on issues relating to the standards of conduct of all public office holders.

 

The CSPL had made 26 recommendations to improve ethical standards in

local government. Its recommendations had been made to the government, the

Local Government Association, Parish Councils and to political parties.  A list of the recommendations were attached to the report at appendix 2.  It was noted that a response from government to the recommendations was yet to be received.

 

In addition, the CSPL had made 15 best practice recommendations for local

authorities that should be considered as a benchmark of good ethical practice,

which it expected that all local authorities could and should implement.  A list of best practice recommendations to local authorities was attached at Appendix 3 of the report.

 

The Committee welcomed the report, but expressed some concern regarding the finding that there was clear evidence of misconduct by some councillors.  Officers assured the Committee that the findings relate to national finding, and were not confined to Manchester councillors.

 

The Committee also welcomed the point that many of the recommendations of best practice were already being implemented by Manchester, both at a Greater Manchester level and a local level.

The City Solicitor advised that the best practice recommendations would be considered by the Chief Legal Officers across Greater Manchester to identify, where possible, a consistent approach and that a report would be brought to a future Committee meeting of the outcome.

 

The Committee noted the recommendation that Independent Persons have limited terms of office of no longer than 4 years. The Committee noted that   the current terms of office for all Independent Persons and Co-opted members of this Committee expire on 17 November 2019.  In order to allow for the offices of the two independent co-opted members of the Standards Committee and the two Independent Persons to be advertised with a view to appointing new membership with effect from 18 November 2021, the Committee agreed to request that Council extend the terms of office of Nicol? Jackson and Geoff Linnell (the two independent co-opted members of the Standards Committee) and Alan Eastwood and Sarah Beswick (the Council’s two Independent Persons) for two years commencing on 18 November 2019.

 

Decision

 

The Committee:-

 

1.    Notes the report;

2.    Requests that the Monitoring Officer, in conjunction with colleagues in the other Greater Manchester authorities, undertake a review of the implications for the Council in following the best practice recommendations for local authorities, of the Committee on Standards in Public Life and that she report back to a future meeting of the Standards Committee; and

3.    Requests that the Council extend the terms of office of Nicol? Jackson and Geoff Linnell (the two independent co-opted members of the Standards Committee) and Alan Eastwood and Sarah Beswick (the Council’s two Independent Persons) for two years commencing on 18 November 2019.

 

Supporting documents: