Oxfordshire Director of Legal

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NALC renews calls for power to suspend councillors for up to six months

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has called on the Government to take “urgent action” to introduce a power for local authorities to suspend councillors for up to six months.

The introduction of such a power was recommended by the Committee on Standards in Public Life in a report in January 2019 to the Prime Minister on improving ethical standards in local government.

NALC has made its call after working with the Local Government Association (LGA) on the development of an updated national model code of conduct for all tiers of local government.

The LGA published the draft code earlier this month for consultation.

On the power to suspend, NALC said: “Failure to introduce this sanction alongside other measures will risk wider steps being taken to improve ethical standards, such as the model code of conduct and training for councillors and clerks, as being ineffective.

“Now more than ever, high standards of conduct in government at all levels are needed to protect the integrity of decision making, maintain public confidence and to safeguard local democracy.

“That is why NALC is also calling for the Committee on Standards in Public Life to publish a timetable for reviewing progress on the implementation of the report’s wider recommendations and best practice to ensure this important issue continues to be a priority for action.”