A consultation paper released by the Department for Communities & Local Government lays out options for locally-based standards committees to make initial assessments of all misconduct allegations.
The maximum sanctions committees will be able to impose will increase from a three-month partial or total suspension to six months.
Local government minister John Healey said: “The proposals deliver our commitment for a more proportionate and locally based regime for the investigation and determination of all but the most serious of misconduct allegations.”
The paper also recommends setting the maximum pay rate for local authority political assistants at point 49 on the pay scale, equivalent to just over£39,000 annually.
The moves will see the Standards Board for England (SBE) play a smaller role in scrutinising councillors’ conduct, only investigating the most serious instances of misconduct.
Glenys Stacey was named the new chief executive of the SBE just before Christmas. She was most recently chief executive of Animal Health, heading the country wide field response to animal disease outbreaks.