Yesterday evening was a very busy one with 2 very interesting meetings pretty much back to back, however, the second one was of more interest to folks interested in democratic accountability and that was my first meeting of the Standards Committee.
I now sit on this committee as one of the representatives of Quedgeley Parish council and I found it a very interesting meeting. It has a mix of Councillors, Council staff and independent members. The Chair and Vice Chair have to be independent members and I thought that gave it a really solid basis to work from.
Without going into the details (though it is a public meeting) I thought one of the really strong features is that the agenda included “case Studies” of complaints that had come before other standards bodies, with the outcome removed, so we could review them as if they were our own and for us to come up with what we would do. Once we have our result, we can then compare it against the real outcome and debate any differences. I think this type of continuous training was a really good thing to do.
This committee looks to have a limited life though as the Conservatives don;t seem to like having to measure up to standards, and they are trying to get rid of it thought the Localism Bill which is currently in the Lords.
Anyway, suffice to say we didn’t banish, hang or lash anyone. Maybe next time.