Local Government Bill [H.L.] - continued        House of Lords
PART III, CONDUCT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT MEMBERS AND EMPLOYEES - continued
Standards committees - continued

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Functions of standards committees.     49. - (1) The general functions of a standards committee of a relevant authority are-
 
 
    (a) promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct by the members and co-opted members of the authority, and
 
    (b) assisting members and co-opted members of the authority to observe the authority's code of conduct.
      (2) Without prejudice to its general functions, a standards committee of a relevant authority has the following specific functions-
 
 
    (a) advising the authority on the adoption or revision of a code of conduct,
 
    (b) monitoring the operation of the authority's code of conduct, and
 
    (c) advising, training or arranging to train members and co-opted members of the authority on matters relating to the authority's code of conduct.
      (3) A relevant authority may arrange for their standards committee to exercise such other functions as the authority consider appropriate.
 
      (4) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision with respect to the exercise of functions by standards committees of relevant authorities in England.
 
      (5) The National Assembly for Wales may by regulations make provision with respect to the exercise of functions by standards committees of relevant authorities in Wales.
 
      (6) The Standards Board for England may issue guidance with respect to the exercise of functions by standards committees of local authorities in England.
 
      (7) The Standards Board for Wales may issue guidance with respect to the exercise of functions by standards committees of local authorities in Wales.
 
      (8) Section 46(9) applies for the purposes of this section as it applies for the purpose of that section.
 
Standards committees or sub-committees for parish councils.     50. - (1) A standards committee of a district council is to have the same functions in relation to-
 
 
    (a) the parish councils for which the district council are the responsible authority, and
 
    (b) the members of those parish councils,
  as the standards committee has under section 49(1) and (2) in relation to the district council and the members of the district council.
 
      (2) A standards committee of a unitary county council is to have the same functions in relation to-
 
 
    (a) the parish councils for which the county council are the responsible authority, and
 
    (b) the members of those parish councils,
  as the standards committee has under section 49(1) and (2) in relation to the county council and the members of the county council.
 
      (3) A standards committee of a district council or unitary county council may appoint a sub-committee for the purpose of discharging all of the functions conferred on the standards committee by this section.
 
      (4) In deciding whether it will be their standards committee, or a sub-committee of their standards committee, which is to discharge the functions conferred by this section, a district council or unitary county council must consult the parish councils for which they are the responsible authority.
 
      (5) The number of members of a sub-committee of a standards committee of a district council or unitary county council, and the terms of office of those members, are to be fixed by the standards committee after consultation with the parish councils for which the district council or unitary county council are the responsible authority.
 
      (6) Where the standards committee of a district council or unitary county council discharges the functions conferred by this section, the standards committee-
 
 
    (a) must include at least one member of any of the parish councils for which the district council or unitary county council are the responsible authority, and
 
    (b) must ensure that at least one person falling within paragraph (a) is present at any meeting of the committee when matters relating to those parish councils, or the members of those parish councils, are being considered.
      (7) Where a sub-committee of the standards committee of a district council or unitary county council discharges the functions conferred by this section, the sub-committee must include-
 
 
    (a) at least one member of the standards committee who falls within section 48(4)(b), and
 
    (b) at least one member of any of the parish councils for which the district council or unitary county council are the responsible authority.
      (8) Regulations under section 48(6)(a) and (c) may make provision in relation to sub-committees appointed under this section, and regulations under section 48(6)(b) may make provision as to the appointment of persons falling within subsection (6)(a) or (7)(a) or (b) of this section.
 
      (9) Subsections (8), (10), (11) and (12) of section 48 apply in relation to sub-committees of standards committees appointed under this section as they apply in relation to standards committees.
 
      (10) Subsections (4) and (6) of section 49 apply in relation to sub-committees of standards committees appointed under this section as they apply in relation to standards committees.
 
      (11) In relation to a parish council, any reference in the following provisions of this Part to the standards committee of a relevant authority is a reference-
 
 
    (a) to the standards committee of the district council or unitary county council which is the responsible authority in relation to the parish council, or
 
    (b) where that standards committee has appointed a sub-committee under this section, to that sub-committee.
      (12) A district council or unitary county council is the responsible authority-
 
 
    (a) in relation to a parish council which is not a common parish council, if the parish is situated within the area of the district council or county council,
 
    (b) in relation to a parish council which is a common parish council-
 
      (i) if the parishes in the group are wholly situated within that area, or
 
      (ii) where that is not the case, if the greatest number of local government electors for the parishes in the group is situated in that area.
      (13) In this section "unitary county council" means the council of a county in which there are no district councils.
 
 
Standards Boards
Standards Boards.     51. - (1) There is to be a body corporate known as the Standards Board for England.
 
      (2) There is to be a body corporate known as the Standards Board for Wales or Bwrdd Safonau Cymru.
 
      (3) The Standards Board for England is to consist of not less than three members appointed by the Secretary of State.
 
      (4) The Standards Board for Wales is to consist of not less than three members appointed by the National Assembly for Wales.
 
      (5) The Standards Board for England is to have the functions conferred on it under this Part and such other functions as may be conferred on it by order made by the Secretary of State under this subsection.
 
      (6) The Standards Board for England-
 
 
    (a) must appoint employees known as ethical standards officers who are to have the functions conferred on them by section 53,
 
    (b) may issue guidance to relevant authorities in England in relation to the conduct of the members and co-opted members of such authorities, and
 
    (c) may arrange for any such guidance to be made public.
      (7) The Standards Board for Wales is to have the functions conferred on it under this Part and such other functions as may be conferred on it by order made by the National Assembly for Wales under this subsection.
 
      (8) The Standards Board for Wales-
 
 
    (a) must appoint employees known as ethical standards officers who are to have the functions conferred on them by section 53,
 
    (b) may issue guidance to relevant authorities in Wales in relation to the conduct of the members and co-opted members of such authorities, and
 
    (c) may arrange for any guidance so issued to be made public.
      (9) Schedule 3 makes further provision in relation to each of the Standards Boards.
 
Written allegations.     52. - (1) A person may make a written allegation to the Standards Board for England that a member or co-opted member of a relevant authority in England has failed, or may have failed, to comply with the authority's code of conduct.
 
      (2) If the Standards Board for England considers that a written allegation under subsection (1) should be investigated, it must refer the case to its ethical standards officers.
 
      (3) A person may make a written allegation to the Standards Board for Wales that a member or co-opted member of a relevant authority in Wales has failed, or may have failed, to comply with the authority's code of conduct.
 
      (4) If the Standards Board for Wales considers that a written allegation under subsection (3) should be investigated, it must refer the case to its ethical standards officers.
 
 
Functions of ethical standards officers
Functions of ethical standards officers.     53. - (1) The functions of ethical standards officers of the Standards Board for England are to investigate-
 
 
    (a) cases referred to them by the Board under section 52(2), and
 
    (b) other cases in which any such officer considers that a member or co-opted member of a relevant authority in England has failed, or may have failed, to comply with the authority's code of conduct and which have come to the attention of any such officer as a result of an investigation under paragraph (a).
      (2) The functions of ethical standards officers of the Standards Board for Wales are to investigate-
 
 
    (a) cases referred to them by the Board under section 52(4), and
 
    (b) other cases in which any such officer considers that a member or co-opted member of a relevant authority in Wales has failed, or may have failed, to comply with the authority's code of conduct and which have come to the attention of any such officer as a result of an investigation under paragraph (a).
      (3) Each of the Standards Boards may make arrangements in relation to the assignment of investigations under this section to particular ethical standards officers.
 
      (4) The purpose of an investigation under this section is to determine which of the findings mentioned in subsection (5) is appropriate.
 
      (5) Those findings are-
 
 
    (a) that there is no evidence of any failure to comply with the code of conduct of the relevant authority concerned,
 
    (b) that no action needs to be taken in respect of the matters which are the subject of the investigation,
 
    (c) that the matters which are the subject of the investigation should be referred to the monitoring officer of the relevant authority concerned, or
 
    (d) that the matters which are the subject of the investigation should be referred to the president of the relevant Adjudication Panel for adjudication by a tribunal falling within section 62(1).
 
Investigations
Conduct of investigations.     54. - (1) An investigation under section 53 may be conducted in relation to a person even though he has ceased to be a member or co-opted member of a relevant authority.
 
      (2) An ethical standards officer may arrange for any person to assist him in the conduct of any investigation under section 53.
 
      (3) An ethical standards officer to whom an investigation under section 53 is assigned may-
 
 
    (a) cease the investigation at any stage before its completion, and
 
    (b) refer the matters which are the subject of the investigation to the monitoring officer of the relevant authority concerned.
      (4) An ethical standards officer may not at any time conduct an investigation under section 53 in relation to a member or co-opted member of a relevant authority if, within the period of five years ending with that time, the ethical standards officer has been a member or an officer of the authority or a member of any committee or sub-committee of the authority.
 
      (5) An ethical standards officer who is directly or indirectly interested in any matter which is, or is likely to be, the subject of an investigation under section 53-
 
 
    (a) must disclose the nature of his interest to the Standards Board by which he is employed, and
 
    (b) may not take part in any investigation under that section which relates to that matter.
      (6) The validity of any acts of an ethical standards officer are not to be affected by any contravention of subsection (4) or (5) or paragraph 3(2) of Schedule 3.
 
 
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