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Rethink Local Authority Model Code of Conduct Order 2007

Comment 1st September 2010

At present the LA Model Code of Conduct gags local democracy in two ways:

it prohibits local representatives from expressing their views in council if they have already given an opinion on the subject in public,

it prevents those with an interest in a topic – and therefore often those the best knowledge of the topic – from voting or speaking on it.

The net result is that decisions are often arbitrary to those who have any knowledge of the subject and the reasons for them are not clear.

There appears to be no equivalent at national government level.

 

Why does this matter?

Local government is in many ways the level of government which most affects peoples daily lives. It is most important that it should reflect local opinion and that democracy should be seen to work. At the same time it is important to avoid corruption.

This Order tries to prevent corruption but at too great a cost and as a result local democracy is damaged by the actions of the local government officers who enforce it. It needs to be re-thought to provide the necessary safeguards against corruption without losing the contributions of those most knowledgeable.

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