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Standards Committee

Purpose of committee

PLEASE NOTE – THIS COMMITTEE WAS DISESTABLISHED IN JULY 2012

 

The Standards Committee was set up in 2002 as a requirement of the Local Government Act 2000 (LGA 2000) which created a new ethical framework for public authorities. It now has a new power arising from the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 to consider complaints that a Member may have breached the Code of Conduct which all Members and co-opted Members sign as part of their declaration of acceptance of office. All Members and co-opted members of local authorities have signed the Code of Conduct as part of their declarations of acceptance of office. The Code outlines their obligations as members stating what they can and cannot do.

Role of Standards Committee

From 8 May 2008, the responsibility for considering complaints that a Councillor may have breached the Code of Conduct has moved to the Standards Committees of local authorities. The Standards Committee has set up Sub-Committees to consider, investigate, determine and refer complaints against elected Members.  Notice of this role has been published in the Hammersmith & Fulham news and are available in the Hammersmith Town Hall, Fulham Town Hall reception areas as well as local libraries. The Committee normally meets 4 times a year. 

Details of how you can complain about the conduct of a Member are outlined in “How to Make a Complaint Against a Member”.

The Council’s Standards Committee other functions include:

  • promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct by the  Executive, non-executive Councillors, co-opted members and church and pa rent governor representatives;
  • assisting Councillors , co-opted members, and church and parent governor representatives to observe the Members’ Code of Conduct;
  • advising the Council on the adoption or revision of the Members’ Code of Conduct;
  • monitoring the operation of the Members’ Code of Conduct;
  • advising, training or arranging to train Councillors , and co-opted members and church and parent governor representatives on matters relating to the Members’ Code of Conduct; and
  • the granting of dispensations in accordance with the relevant Regulations.

What powers does the Committee have?

The Standards Committee can refer a matter of Councillor’s conduct to the Standards Board for England for further investigation.  It can also decide to take investigate the complaint, propose other action such as mediation or training, or take no further action.  If the Standards Committee considers that the person failed to comply with the Code of Conduct, it must impose one or a combination of 11 sanctions, including censure, restriction for up to 6 months of that Member’s access to the premises of the authority, partial suspension, and suspension for up to 6 months.  The Committee’s decision must be notified to the Member who ,if he/she has failed to comply with the Code, has the right to appeal against the decision to the President of the Adjudication Panel for England.  

What is a dispensation and when and how is it granted?

The Standards Committee can grant members ‘dispensations’ so that Members can be included in meetings they would not normally be able to attend due to a prejudicial interest.
By law, the standards committee can only grant dispensations in the following circumstances:

  • When over 50% of the council or a committee would be prevented from taking part in a meeting because of prejudicial interests; or 
  • When the political balance of the council will be upset, members can apply to the Standards Committee in writing for a ‘dispensation’ to allow them to attend.

The Standards Committee must agree to the dispensation, in writing, before the meeting is held.


The Composition of the Committee

The Standards Committee will comprise 10 members (5 Councillor members and 5 independent persons drawn from outside the Council). The Committee will always be chaired by one of the independent members.  All members shall have equal voting rights, with the Chairman having a second, or casting, vote in cases of dispute.  Only one member of the Executive may sit on the Committee.

 

Outcomes of complaints against Councillors:

 

Assessment Sub-Committee

Review Sub-Committee

 

For a  more detailed explanation of the Standards Committee’s Terms of Reference, responsibilities and membership structure, please click here.

Membership

Contact information

Support officer: Gary Marson. (Tel: 020 8753 2278)

Postal address:
Committee Services, Room 133a
Hammersmith Town Hall
King Street
Hammersmith
W6 9JU

Phone: 020 8753 2278

Email: gary.marson@lbhf.gov.uk