The Committee for Standards in Public Life has placed the post-Localism Act local government standards regime on a `watching brief` saying the lack of available sanctions and independent scrutiny risked damaging public confidence in the probity of local government.
In its review of best practice in the public sector, Standards Matter, the committee said that while it supported the principle of devolved responsibility for standards, the absence of these features meant that some local authorities were at risk of failing to bring their members to account. It said that it would keep an eye on developments and investigate the effectiveness of the regime if that became necessary.
The committee`s report highlighted authorities with a single dominant political party (e.g. Cheshire East) in control and rural authorities with a high proportion of independent members as being at the highest risk of member misbehaviour.
The report said: