Tuesday 21 January 1997
10:15-11:00: Tony Travers, director, Greater London Group, London School of Economics
11:30-12:15: Alan Pike, local government correspondent, Financial Times
12:15-13:00: Henry Peterson, deputy chief executive and director of policy, Hammersmith and Fulham LBC
Thursday 23 January
10:00-10:45: Jake Arnold-Foster, deputy editor, Local Government Chronicle
10:45-11:15: Stephen Homewood and David Lewis, Middlesex University business school
11:15-12:00: John Scotford, president; John Whiteoak, chair of corporate governance working party; David Thurness, head of local Government; and Nick Carroll, senior manager, local government, CIPFA
12:00-12:30: Michael Cowan, former leader (Labour), Newark DC and member, Nottinghamshire CC; and David Payne, former leader of Conservative group and member, Newark and Sherwood DC.
12:30-13:00: Peter Clarke, secretary, the Co-operative Party
Wednesday 29 January 1997
10:00-10:30: Alan Burgoine assistant chief executive, and Ronald Cooke, assistant director, finance, Waltham Forest LBC
10:30-11:00: Paul Clayden, director, and Tony Hayward, chairman, National Association for Local Councils (NALC)
11:00-11:45: David Winchurch, chief executive, Walsall MBC
11:45-12:15 Peter Burton, policy research officer, and Mary Walker, manager, Chamber Services, Mid-Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce
12:15-1300 Andrew Foster, controller of audit, and Peter Wilkinson, director of corporate resources, Audit Commission
Thursday 30 January 1997
10:00-10:30: Pamela Gordon, president; Roger Morris, (Immediate past President); David Henshaw, secretary; and Ken Whitehead, chair of the professional matters panel; SOLACE
10:30-11:00: Professor Michael Clarke, INLOGOV, University of Birmingham
11:00-11:30: Councillor William McFarland, Stratford-on-Avon DC
11:30-12:00: Santha Rasaiah, Guild of Editors
12:00-12:30: Councillor Lord Tope, Leader, Patricia Hughes, chief executive, and Mick Lowe, assistant chief executive, Sutton LBC.
12:30-13:00: Councillor David Church, leader, Democratic Labour Group, Walsall MBC.
The public hearings follow similar lines to those in Cardiff on 4 and 5 December 1996 and in Edinburgh on 17 and 18 December 1996.
Hearings will be held in London from 21 January 1997.
The areas of study:
The committee has sent a note to witnesses who will be giving evidence at these hearings setting out the major issues which have been raised in written submissions and during visits by committee members and members of the Secretariat.
Conflicts of interest and codes of conduct
-- the need for clearer rules; possible mechanisms for better enforcement; the possibility of an expanded code of conduct for officers including rules governing staff moves to commercial organisations with which the council has financial dealings; more formal arrangements for 'whistleblowing'
Officer/member relationships and the decision-making process * the need for a clarification of these relationships; the role of the statutory officers (head of paid service, chief finance officer, monitoring officer); the role of one party deliberative committees; the roles of the ombudsman and district auditors; the powers of surcharge.
Contracting, local authority companies and joint ventures
The committee makes it clear that if witnesses wish to raise issues not covered by the note or to concentrate on one or two topics they are free to do so.
The note adds:
'The committee has produced this note to help witnesses focus on practical issues for discussion, and on possible ways of producing practical improvements in existing arrangements.
'We believe that it is necessary to discuss with our witnesses to only the existing arrangements, but also the possible advantages and disadvantages of ways in which the existing arrangements might be changed.
'With this in mind, we have set out some possible avenues of change. Nothing in this note should be interpreted as implying that the committee has reached any views, however provisional, on what if any changes it might recommend.'
'The Committee does not investigate individual allegations of wrongdoing.