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COUNCILLOR CODE OF CONDUCT: MOST SERIOUS CASES PRIORITISED AS 1,000TH COMPLAINT RECEIVED

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The Standards Board for England has now received around 1,000 allegations that elected, co-opted and independent me...
The Standards Board for England has now received around 1,000 allegations that elected, co-opted and independent members have broken codes of conduct, since they applied to all authorities in May 2002. In response to the increasing flow of allegations, the board has introduced a number of measures. These include:

- the most serious allegations being prioritised

- allegations, which are clearly trivial, no longer being investigated in depth

- recruiting extra investigators to address the flow of allegations earlier than first anticipated

The flow of cases being considered by the board's investigators will also be improved by the introduction of government regulations. Ministers have promised they will be in place next month. The regulations will enable the board's investigators to refer appropriate cases for investigation and/or determination at a local level.

Tony Holland, chair of The Standards Board said:

'We always expected this volume of referrals, but didn't expect it this quickly. The decision not to investigate trivial cases fully is common sense. For the first six months we looked at everything very carefully. That has taught us what we need to know to be able to start rejecting some cases at an early stage. It is a sign of our success in creating awareness of ourselves, and proof of the need for an organisation like this. Both members and the public appreciate clearly defined boundaries of what constitutes acceptable behaviour, and need a resource to call upon if they think the boundaries have been crossed. The Standards Board is that resource.'

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