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Local Government Act 2003

Section 113 : Standards committees etc

340.This section enables local authority standards committees to appoint sub-committees. It also enables the monitoring officer of an authority to nominate another person to carry out duties when the monitoring officer believes he himself ought not to carry out those duties.

341.The Local Government Act 2000 required each relevant local authority to establish a standards committee. Standards committees have the general functions of promoting high standards of conduct, and of assisting members to observe the authority’s code of conduct.

342.The 2000 Act also envisages that standards committees could in certain circumstances consider reports of alleged misconduct by members of the authority and subsequently take actions against members found to have breached the code of conduct. This function of considering reports into misconduct allegations is to be provided for in regulations which the Secretary of State intends to make under section 66 of the 2000 Act. In order that standards committees will be able to regulate the number of members of the committee present when considering such cases, it is necessary to provide for the creation of sub-committees.

343.Regulations under section 66 of the 2000 Act will also provide for the investigation of misconduct allegations to be carried out by the monitoring officer of an authority. The 2000 Act gives this duty to the monitoring officer personally. However, there may be circumstances where it would be improper for the monitoring officer to conduct the investigation – for example if he or she (as the authority’s principal legal adviser) has previously given advice to the member concerned on the application of the code. This section will allow the monitoring officer to nominate another person to conduct the investigation. The nominated person could be another employee of the authority, or someone outside – for example the monitoring officer of a neighbouring authority.

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