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Fears over Selby scrutiny changes
RESPONSIBILITY for standards at Selby District Council has been taken out of the hands of a committee and given to one of the authority’s officers.
The decision to dissolve the Standards Committee has been made to bring the council in line with the recently introduced Localism Act, which aims to reduce red tape in local authorities and hand more power back to communities.
But the decision has met with some criticism from a councillor who said the change, which will see the standards committee of councillors replaced by a single officer, was “ill thought out”.
Coun Steve Shaw-Wright, leader of the council’s Labour group, said: “I am disappointed that the council has scrapped the local standards board. It has played an effective part in the running of Selby District Council.
“Making councillors more accountable or involving more people in decision-making was the stated aim of the Localism Act. The Act wants councillors elected by and accountable to local people. It seems that the council wants its councillors accountable to some as yet unknown officer.”
The decision was made at a council meeting last week. A spokesman for the authority said the compaints procedure would change, but would not be the responsibility of Access Selby, the council’s arm’s-length service deliverer.
He said: “The system the council has agreed to adopt enables us to deal with any standards issues efficiently and effectively, but with the necessary checks and balances in place.
“Issues will be dealt with initially by the council’s monitoring officer within our locally-agreed code of conduct, with final decisions on the outcome of the process in the hands of full council.
“These changes are being put in place in response to the Government’s new Localism Act, which has abolished the Standards Board for England and the National Councillor Code of Conduct.”
Coun Shaw-Wright said he felt the decision “looks at cost-cutting rather than a good service”.