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ACSES CONFERENCE REPORT - SINGLE ISSUE BAN MUST GO, SAYS BOOTHMAN

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The part of the code of the conduct which prevents single-issue councillors voting on the topic they were elected t...
The part of the code of the conduct which prevents single-issue councillors voting on the topic they were elected to tackle must be changed before it brings local government into disrepute.

This was the message from Chris Boothman, head of legal services at the Standards Board for England, to the ACSeS conference in Chichester.

Mr Boothman told delegates it 'could not conceivably be right' for a councillor elected on a platform of saving a local library to be prevented from voting on the library's future because he or she was declared to have a personal or prejudicial interest in the issue.

He added that the area was 'ripe for change', and said: 'We are planning a consultation exercise over the next year to see which parts [of the code] need to be changed.

'In the meantime the challenge is for us to work together to find ways around these problems so the code doesn't bring local government into disrepute.'

Julie James, director of legal and administrative services at City & County of Swansea Council, said the code's existing position was 'nonsense'.

'I don't understand the purpose of the code if it puts councillors into the position that they can't act as local representatives and reflect the views of the community, whether they are biased or not,' said Ms James.

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