A new month and a new approach to Standards in Local Government.  Last night saw Standards for England (SfE) close their doors, or at least their active website, and they are now focusing their resources on the closedown of the organisation on 31 March. 

The commencement of provisions in Chapter 7 of Part 1of  the Localism Act 2011 means that SfE's regulatory function has now ceased and they no longer have powers to accept new referrals from local standards committees or to conduct investigations into complaints against members.  Perhaps equally importantly for local authorities struggling to deal with conduct issues for a few months yet, SfE will no longer have a role in providing guidance on the existing standards framework. 
The existing guidance that was available on their website can still be accessed  for the moment, but SFE is in the process of archiving it and it won't be kept up to date.  The changes in the Standards regime brought in through the Localism Act will mean that any existing information has to be treated with caution once the regime changes completely, but in the meantime it will remain useful to local authorities who will be dealing with Standards cases until 1 July 2012, and a lot of the guidance may also be of use in considering matters to be taken into account in setting up new processes, even though these will be different.  

Bevan Brittan have kept a library of most of the guidance and reports that SfE have produced and will be pleased to make this available to local authorities, should this be of assistance.  If you would like help in accessing any SfE guidance, please contact Claire Booth.
It is anticipated that the uncompleted cases which local authorities have sent to Standard for England will be sent back for the authority to deal with as they think fit.  Given that it tended to be the more difficult and serious cases that were passed up from Local Hearings, it is not clear how authorities will deal with these, as in many cases they may be unwilling to see them abandoned, especially after going through the necessary process to have them sent up in the first place .
Bevan Brittan have a vast amount of experience in advising local authorities on Standards matters, whether through advice to Monitoring Officers on particular aspects of a matter or by acting as investigating officers.  If you are facing problems through the effective closure of  Standards for England from the end of January, we would be very pleased to assist .

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences. For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page.

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collection and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone.
For more information on how these cookies work, please see our Cookies page.