The Committee on Standards in Public Life is undertaking a review of local government ethical standards. The terms of reference of this review are to:

1. Examine the structures, processes and practices in local government in England for:
a) Maintaining codes of conduct for local councillors;
b) Investigating alleged breaches fairly and with due process;
c) Enforcing codes and imposing sanctions for misconduct;
d) Declaring interests and managing conflicts of interest; and
e) Whistleblowing.
2. Assess whether the existing structures, processes and practices are conducive to high standards of conduct in local government;
Make any recommendations for how they can be improved; and
3. Note any evidence of intimidation of councillors, and make recommendations for any measures that could be put in place to prevent and address such intimidation) Investigating alleged breaches fairly and with due process;
4. Note any evidence of intimidation of councillors, and make recommendations for any measures that could be put in place to prevent and address such intimidation.

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) have developed the following questions in order to obtain quantitative evidence which will inform its response to this review. NALC will also use this evidence to present to Government and MPs and to ascertain members’ views to inform relevant lobbying or campaigning activities. Please note that this survey is for councils and responses should reflect the view of the council. 

This survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. 
We would be grateful if you could complete the survey by 5pm Friday 27 April. 

* 1. Which code of conduct has your council adopted?

* 2. In your opinion is your Code of Conduct clear and understood by most members of the council?

* 3. In your opinion do most members of your council understand the rules for registering and declaring interests?

* 4. Are the existing legal arrangements to declare councillors’ interests and manage conflicts of interest effective?

* 5. Are members of your council provided with training on the Code of Conduct?

* 6. If yes, who normally delivers the training?

* 7. In your opinion are most members of your council aware of how complaints under the code of conduct are dealt with?

* 8. If there have been complaints in your opinion has the principal authority dealt with them effectively?

* 9. Are you aware of the following (tick all that apply)?

* 10. In your view does the input of the Independent Person into the complaints handling process provide assurance of fairness/objectivity?

* 11. If your council has imposed any sanctions on any of your members as a result of a finding of a breach of the code of conduct by the principal authority please select which type of sanction your council has imposed (select all that apply):

* 12. In your opinion are the sanctions available to the council sufficient to achieve the following:

* 13. How many code of conduct complaints (whether upheld or not by the principal authority) between 2013- 2017 have directly or indirectly led to resignations of the parish councillor(s) who were found in breach?

* 14. How many code of conduct complaints (whether upheld or not by the principal authority) between 2013- 2017 have  directly or indirectly led to  resignations of other parish councillors?

* 15. How many code of conduct complaints (whether upheld  or not by the principal authority) between 2013- 2017 have  directly or indirectly led to  resignations of staff?

* 16. Does the Council have whistleblowing arrangements in place?

* 17. Have instances of councillor behaviour between 2013 – 2017 resulted in staff taking or threatening to take legal action against the council and or individual councillor(s)?

* 18. In your opinion does the standards framework (the code of conduct and complaints handling process) help the council to maintain high standards of conduct?

* 19. Is the parish council in favour of having new powers to impose additional/more serious sanctions (e.g. suspension, disqualification) when a parish councillor is found to have breached the council’s code of conduct?

* 20. Would you support a national code of conduct which is the same and mandatory for all local authorities?

* 21. Which body should be responsible for (i) investigating code of conduct complaints concerning parish councillors and (ii) sanctioning parish councillors with powers to suspend and disqualify parish councillors for breaches of the code of conduct?

T