Local Government Suggest a change

Transparency

Publish full minutes (or transcripts if available), audio recordings, and voting records from all local council meetings. Online publication should be performed within 24 hours. Software tools will be created to make this process simple.

A local accountability service will be provided online to show, for each local authority;

  • spending records (including spending below £500)
  • council political make-up and details of councillors (similar to that provided by OpenlyLocal)
  • details of councillor connections with companies and charities (i.e. shareholding and directorships)
  • searchable transcripts and video recordings of all public council meetings (similar to TheyWorkForYou.com)

Waste and Environment

The Localism Act 2011 repealed powers under The Climate Change Act 2008 which gave councils the ability to charge fine or introduce tariffs regarding household waste. Local authorities are primarily responsible for waste collection and recycling. Consequently, local government should have the power to issue financial disincentives (and/or incentives) to encourage recycling and effective waste collection.

Community Engagement

Local Councillors should provide at least two weekend community surgeries a month.

Ward based public debates should not be confined to hustings during periods of election campaigning and a minimum number should be required per calendar year.

An elected ward councillor must participate and one member party member from other parties may do so if they wish.

The debate should be chaired by a local resident.

Reducing Corruption

Inline with Transparency International’s recommendations in their report Corruption in Local Government: The Mounting Risks, we will introduce the following policies:

Inquiry

We will commission an independent inquiry into the scale of corruption within the UK local government system, to be headed by a sitting judge.

The government should, following the conclusion of the independent inquiry into local government corruption, hold intermittent national corruption risk assessments every few years.

Counter-corruption

We will maintain legal protections for key anti-corruption officials within councils, such as Chief Executives and Monitoring Officers, to prevent them being targeted by corrupt officials or councillors. We will also establish an easy-to-use and confidential channel whereby whistle-blowers can report suspicions of corruption and incidents.

Each local authority should have a dedicated counter-corruption official who conducts regular corruption risk assessments and liaises closely with law enforcement officials and other government bodies, such as the Local Government Ombudsman.

Auditing

We will introduce a statutory requirement for councils at district/borough level and higher to maintain an audit committee as a full committee, with a specific remit to include corruption investigations and corruption risk assessments. Also, independent auditing teams within councils must be properly resourced and sufficiently independent so that the influence of corrupt officials on their work is minimised.

Companies that carry out auditing contracts for councils will not be allowed to provide other commercial and consultancy services to the same local authority.