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Leicestershire Liberal Democrats

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Updating our Standing Orders to uphold our Code of Conduct

March 20, 2013 10:22 AM

Why there's a problem.

Following the abolition of the national standards board for councillors, it's become up to political parties themselves to discipline their councillors. In most of the country this hasn't been a big deal but Leicestershire hasn't. There have been a number of scandals within the Conservative ranks, the worst example involving their leader. This exposed existing measures to hold councillors to account as completely inadequate. Everyone in the Leicestershire County Council have agreed that this needs to be addressed.

You'll be pleased to know that none of the Lib Dem councillors were caught up in these scandals, but the responsibility still falls on all parties to restore public confidence in Leicestershire's local politics. For that reason we've updated our standing orders to emphasize the need for exemplary conduct and to also give our group a disciplinary process to quickly and effectively deal with any situations that did arise.

What we're doing about it!

Our standing orders now includes a section on Code of Conduct, detailing the Seven Nolan Principles, as well as committing the member to the Leicestershire County Council Code of Conduct. We have also updated our Aims section, making exemplary conduct one of our key aims as a council group.

We have also updated our disciplinary section. We already had provisions to suspend or expel members for breaking group rules. There was even an automatic suspension for any member charged by the police. This has now been extended to give the group powers to investigate complaints. If a complaint is made to us about one of our members, it will be investigated. If we find that the member hasn't met our expectations in conduct we will now have the power to suspend or expel them, stripping them of the benefits that being a member of the group brings.

We have an excellent team of councillors who have kept an impeccable record of conduct. Had these new tough rules been in previously, none of us would have fallen foul of them. That's why we have no qualms in bringing it in now, confident as always that our members will uphold the highest standards and determined to do what is necessary to improve the reputation of local politics.

The changes we have made: