Help maintain high standards among Councillors

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News release: 28 November 2017

An individual is needed to promote high standards of conduct among Councillors and senior officers of St Albans City and District Council.

Civic Offices
The Council is required by the Localism Act 2011 to appoint two “Independent Persons” for the important role. Applications are now invited for one vacant post.

The chosen candidate will be consulted for their views on any complaints made about the behaviour of a District, Town or Parish councillor.

Most complaints can be dealt with by reading and commenting on the case papers.

However, on occasions the Independent Person will be required to attend meetings of the Council’s Standards Committee. These are usually held at 7pm at the Civic Offices, in St Peter’s Street.

An Independent Person may also be asked to serve on a panel that advises the Council when disciplinary action against senior officers is considered. 

Among the qualities candidates should have are:

• A commitment to public service and high personal integrity;
• The ability to assess an issue and reach a balanced, objective decision in an impartial way; and
• First class communication skills, problem solving abilities and tactfulness in dealing with others.

Applicants should also be reliable, excellent listeners and good problem solvers and, preferably, they should live or work in the District.

It is also useful to have a working knowledge of how local government operates and an awareness of the role of Councillors.

Independent Persons are entitled to an annual allowance, currently £420, together with travel expenses. The appointment will be for a term expiring on July 1 2022.

Valerie Beale, a current Independent Person, said: “The role is an interesting one and each case is very different.  I read all the paperwork thoroughly relating to a complaint of misconduct against an individual Councillor.  

“I then give my independent advice to the Council’s Monitoring Officer and that helps him reach a final decision on the complaint.” 

Councillor Beric Read, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Business and the Community, said: “Independent Persons have a vital job in helping to promote and maintain high ethical standards among elected representatives. I urge anyone who thinks they can carry out this valued role to consider applying.”

Applicants must be aged 18 or over and must not be a St Albans District, Parish or Town councillor, co-opted member or employee of the Council or have been such over the last five years.  Neither can they be a relative or close friend of such a person. 

Anyone interested can download an information pack and application form here: bit.ly/2nDdvWb

Alternatively, they can call 01727 819520 or email paul.warne@stalbans.gov.uk to request these by post.

The closing date for receipt of applications is noon on 2 January 2018.  Interviews will be held either in the week commencing 15 January 2018 or in the following week. 

Councillor contact:
Councillor Beric Read, Portfolio Holder for Business and the Community  for St Albans City and District Council.
Tel: 07956 220264. Email: Cllr.B.Read@stalbans.gov.uk

Media contact:
John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, St Albans City and District Council. Tel: 01727-296130