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THREE NEW APPOINTEES TO MISCONDUCT BODY

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Appointments to the Standards Board for England have been announced....
Appointments to the Standards Board for England have been announced.

The Standards Board is an executive non departmental public body, funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Its officers investigate allegations of misconduct against members of local authorities. It also promotes high standards of conduct in local government by issuing guidance about the conduct of council members, and about the way in which conduct issues are dealt with by local authorities.

Local government minister Phil Woolas said:

'Paul Gott, Elizabeth Hall and Judith Simons will bring extensive skills and experience to help the Board to develop its role in the maintenance of high standards of conduct in local government.

'Public confidence in the conduct of local authorities is vital, so it is critical that the board can continue to provide the support and guidance to local authority members to ensure that standards remain high.'

Paul Gott is a barrister and a member of Fountain Court Chambers. He was appointed as junior counsel to the Crown in 1999 and appointed to the Treasury Counsel 'A' Panel in 2005. He practises in commercial and employment law, with employment law specialisations in the areas of strike action, discrimination and equal pay, on which he regularly advises government departments and private clients. Commercial law specialisations include civil fraud, banking and accountants'

negligence.

Judy Simons is professor of English and pro vice chancellor at De Montfort University, where she has responsibility for quality and standards and chairs the University Human Research Ethics Committee.

She is a board member of the Higher Education Academy and chair of Council. She is also on the Strategic Committee for Leadership, Governance and Management at the Higher Education Funding Council for England. She has chaired a number of national academic bodies, including the Council of University Deans of Arts and Humanities. She has published widely on literary studies and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the English Association.

Elizabeth Hall has worked for the past ten years in the Financial Services Authority, the single regulator for the financial services industry, mainly on consumer protection, complaints, and financial capability. She was appointed to London Travelwatch last year, and is a member of the Queen Mary University of London Research Ethics Committee and of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Schools Forum.

She has several lay responsibilities in the Church of England, including chair of the Tower Hamlets Synod and as an examining chaplain for the Stepney Area.

Notes

1. Section 57 of the Local Government Act 2000 made provision for an independent body, the Standards Board for England, to promote and maintain high standards of conduct for members of local authorities.

2. On 15 December the ODPM published a Discussion Paper, Standards of Conduct in English Local Government: The Future, which proposes some changes to the current conduct regime for local councillors,

including:

* initial assessment of all misconduct allegations to be undertaken by local standards committees, rather than the Standards Board;

* local standards committees to be responsible for investigating and determining most cases;

* the Standards Board to remain at the centre of the conduct regime, but to adopt a more strategic, arm's length role, while retaining responsibility for investigating the most serious misconduct allegations;

* a clearer, simpler code of conduct for members.

3. There are eight other Standards Board members, including the chairman, Anthony Holland. Two posts recently become vacant following the expiry of the second, and final, terms of two members. A further post will become vacant in March this year. The three new appointments fill these vacancies.

4. The recruitment process for these posts followed best practice guidance published by the Office of the Commissioner of Public Appointments throughout. A selection panel, including an independent member, shortlisted and interviewed candidates, making recommendations to the Minister, who then made the appointments.

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