Hilary Benn – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Communities and Local Government

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Hilary Benn on 2014-06-09.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to carry out a post-implementation review of the local government standards framework in the Localism Act 2011.

Brandon Lewis

[Holding Reply: Thursday 12 June 2014]

As stated in the impact assessment on the abolition of the Standards Board regime (published in January 2011), a post implementation review will be carried out three to five years after implementation of the policy which was in July 2012.

My Department routinely receives representations about standards arrangements in local government, and indeed, on a whole range of local government issues. We will have regard to representations and comments when we undertake our post implementation review.

However, Ministers are clear that the new provisions are a significant improvement on the old, discredited regime. The Localism Act has clarified predetermination rules allowing elected councillors to campaign and speak up on local issues. We have reversed the petty culture of malicious and unfounded complaints that wasted time and energy and undermined the good reputation of local government. We have increased transparency on councillors’ interests, and put in place criminal sanctions for the very rare instances of corruption. This is complemented by the role of political parties in ensuring good conduct, the law of libel, and the ultimate sanction: the ballot box.