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STANDARDS BOARD FIGHTS BACK AFTER CRITICISMS OF SLUGGISH RESPONSES

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The Standards Board for England has hit back at accusations it is too slow to tackle complaints about councillors' ...
The Standards Board for England has hit back at accusations it is too slow to tackle complaints about councillors' misbehaviour.

Surrey Heath DC borough solicitor Richard Ivory last week criticised the board for taking 16 months to produce a three-page report to exonerate councillors (LGC, 28 November).

A board spokesman said: 'You cannot measures outcomes by length of report. The right answer may be a short one.'

Surrey Heath still has 12 live cases relating to present or former Conservative councillors.

'That is a large number of cases that may relate to each other - it is a complex matter,' the spokesman added.

From April, the board hopes to use local investigations and rulings for complaints involving parish councils.

This would mean the monitoring officer of the relevant higher tier council investigating and reporting to its standards committee, unless the higher tier was for some reason involved in the case.

England's 8,000 parish councils account for 53% of cases put to the board's 67 case handlers. It investigates 37% of complaints laid.

'We get criticised for investigating matters people think are trivial and for not investigating matters people have taken the trouble to put to us,' the spokesman said.

'If we are being criticised for both it at least shows a balance.'

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