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0 votes
A new Cllr has refused to provide a completed Members Interests Form (declaring she feels public have no right to know about her) or the sign LGA Adopted Model Code of Conduct (our borough council provide a 1 page declaration form) what next?

Localism Act 2011 appears to have created a specific criminal offence related to related to interests but understand chance of prosecution is minimal (at best). Nobody seems willing to tackle it just seemingly hoping she walks away.  Some have argued well by joining Council deemed to have accepted code of conduct at point she signed declaration of acceptance of office but that still does not deal with the lack of interests form.
by (8.5k points)

6 Answers

+1 vote
The Monitoring Officer (MO) of the principal authority (PO)  is responsible for maintaining the register of interests. I would argue he or she should be made aware of the refusal to declare interests. The MO should then inform the parish cllr that they must comply, otherwise section 34 if the localism act will be invoked which could lead to a magistrates court fine of up to £5,000 and a five year suspension from holding office. If the MO decides to ignore it the PO should be reported to the loc government ombudsman for maladministration.
by (35.4k points)
Thanks for this.  How would you approach making contentious decisions (with public asserting the reason she wont submit said interest form is because she has actually joined to influence a decision when she can't because of the DPI). The decision to award needs to be taken (it can't really be deferred month after month waiting for someone to address it)
+1 vote
It is actually a legal offence not to complete the Declaration of Interests and it should be completed within 28 days.  Speak to your Monitoring Officer as they have a duty to report it to the Police although following our recent elections (well 3 months ago) they are only just starting to tighten up and will reporting the ones who haven’t yet completed the form.  Also if you are standing as a Councillor you are going to be in the public eye and people are entitled to know about you, mind you there are certain instances where your address can be hidden.
by (3.8k points)
+1 vote
I had a situation some years ago when the Localism Act was first introduced when a councillor refused to complete and submit a Declaration of Financial Interests form and was automatically disqualified as a result.  Not sure if that applies now but I'd speak to the Elections Office and MO for guidance.
by (19.1k points)
I just assumed the same that the 28 days would lapse and that would lead to instant disqualified. Instead entity seems to expect the other to do something (CPS, Police, Principal Authority, Electoral Commission).
0 votes
We have a councillor who refuses to send in his declaration form - or rather he is happy to fill it in, and make appropriate declarations verbally in council, but does not want it in the public domain for security reasons. As I understand it, the District will allow parts to be redacted under these circumstances, but so far he has not done so. Mind you with the current state of our DC it's difficult to get anything done at the moment.
by (5.3k points)
0 votes
It is for the LA monitoring officer to resolve this issue - although that is likely to have questionable output if personal experience is anything to go by.
When I reported the lack of record of ownership of land subject to a planning application in the parish and the complete absence of any record of contracts held by a parish councillor with his own parish council in his declaration of personal interests which had been lodged with the MO the MO simply took the view that since it has been corrected after being highlighted no further action would be deemed appropriate - makes you wonder just what a cllr does have to do to be held to account.

In relation to disclosable pecuniary interests you will commit a criminal offence if, without reasonable excuse, you (i) fail to provide information that you are required to register; or (ii) provide information that is false or misleading and you know that the information is false of misleading or you are reckless as to whether the information is true and not misleading.
If you commit such an offence you can be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale and be disqualified from holding public office for up to 5 years - s34 Localism Act 2011.
Disclosable pecuniary interests and trade union membership must be declared within 28 days of either (i) taking office; or (ii) becoming aware of the interest.

As I have personally experienced though, when a cllr IS reckless, provides false or misleading information the square root of SFA actually happens….
by (21.3k points)
0 votes
Did you ever get this issue resolved Progress?

If so, what was the outcome?

I have a supplementary question which I was going to start a new post but it might sit well in here:

A register of (parish) Cllr declarations of interests must be maintained and publicly accessible via the local authority web site, but is anyone aware of a regulation which requires the pari also to publish the DoIs of their Cllrs?

Must they be on BOTH the parish AND the LA website or just the LA site?
by (21.3k points)
Yes it must appear on both the principal council website and the parish council website (if it has one)

Localism Act 2011 section 29(7) "A parish council must, if it has a website, secure that its register is published on its website."
Our borough council requires the parish councillors to complete a RoI online and so on our parish website, I have just included the link to the borough council website page.  I would argue that this is sufficient and has never been challenged.
Apologies missed this follow up been a busy month. In terms of the outcome the member in question eventually resigned throwing various rocks at the principal authority (thankfully not literally) in process. A bruising and largely unsatisfactory process that certainly resulted in a few extra grey hairs. Relief in end but occupied far to much time and energy.

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