“Ministers to tighten disqualification criteria for councillors and mayors”

“Individuals who are given an anti-social behaviour injunction or a criminal behaviour order or who are added to the sex offenders’ register will no longer be able to be a councillor or elected mayor, under reforms put out to consultation this week.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said the planned changes to the disqualification criteria for councillors and mayors “would ensure those who represent their communities are held to the highest possible standards”.

Under the current rules anyone convicted of an offence carrying a prison sentence of more than three months is banned from serving as a local councillor.

Local Government Minister Marcus Jones said that while this might have prevented criminals from becoming councillors, it did not reflect modern sentencing practices.

He added: “Councillors hold an important position of trust and authority in communities across England. We need to hold them to the highest possible standards.

“The current rules are letting residents and councils down by not preventing people who should never be considered for such roles from standing for election.

“The changes the government is proposing would help make sure anyone convicted of a serious crime, regardless of whether it comes with a custodial sentence, will not be able to serve as a councillor.”

The DCLG said the proposed measures would “bring rules much more into the present day” by including the alternatives to a prison sentence also becoming a barrier to being a councillor.

The changes, if implemented, will apply to councillors and mayors in parish, town, local, county and unitary councils, combined authorities and the Greater London Authority.

The ban would prevent an individual standing in an election or if they are already a councillor or mayor, require them to stand down.

The consultation, which can be viewed here, runs until

5 pm on 8 December 2017

It proposes updating the disqualification criteria in section 80 of the Local Government Act 1972, paragraph 9 of schedule 5B to the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009, and section 21 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 to prohibit those subject to the notification requirements (commonly referred to as ‘being on the sex offenders register’) and those subject to certain anti-social behaviour sanctions from being local authority members, London Assembly members or directly-elected mayors.

The consultation does not propose changing the disqualification criteria for Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs).

The proposals do not extend to the Council of the Isles of Scilly or the Common Council of the City of London.”

http://localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php

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