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The regulation of standards in British public lifeDoing the right thing?$
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David Hine and Gillian Peele

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097133

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097133.001.0001

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Integrity issues in local government: the rise and fall of the Standards Board for England

Integrity issues in local government: the rise and fall of the Standards Board for England

Chapter:
(p.240) 12 Integrity issues in local government: the rise and fall of the Standards Board for England
Source:
The regulation of standards in British public life
Author(s):

David Hine

Gillian Peele

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719097133.003.0012

The chapter examines the case of English local government and the experience of the Standards Board for England. The model chosen was an ambitious one, superficially built on a clear and authoritative structure of external, independent, statute-based regulatory authority. In practice, as the eventual demise of the SBE demonstrated, the model was badly conceived and badly implemented, the fault lying mostly at central-government level. Despite its decision to impose external regulation, the Labour government was unsure of how far it wanted to take this principle, and delayed its eventual decision in ways that seriously overburdened the SBE, and cost it dearly in terms of credibility, loss of allies within local government, and at Westminster. Eventually a more satisfactory balance between local and centralized regulation was established, and important modifications were made to the model Code of Conduct, allowing a lighter-touch form of strategic regulation. This shift came too late to save the model established by the Local Government Act 2000, however, and the fatal loss of credibility and institutional allies left the SBE as a relatively soft target for a new mood of light-touch regulation which informed the approach of the Coalition government elected in 2010.

Keywords:   Standards Board, Adjudication Panel, Audit Commission, Local Government Acts, Model Code of Conduct, local self-determination

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