Respect, Standards and Freedom of Expression

By Nick Graham | 30 September 2021

If there is one thing that characterises our post-Jackie Weaver times it is the attention now paid to the conduct of our elected councillors.  Mechanisms for addressing poor behaviour in other spheres of life are usually clear cut: employees that misbehave can be disciplined by their boss; professionals who act inappropriately can be referred to a regulatory body.  For our elected representatives, it is a bit more complicated. 

On one level councillors are directly accountable to the electorate for their behaviour and, come election time, the electorate can quite literally decide if any given councillor should remain in post.  But in-between elections, misconduct in public life is ordinarily adjudicated on by reference to a Code of Conduct – adopted by all councils – and is overseen by a Monitoring Officer who can investigate complaints and determine how and whether to sanction local government politicians. 

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