David Prince, former member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, gave a speech on why ethical standards continue to be of the utmost importance in local government to the Standards Conference for monitoring officers on 6 July 2016.
Monitoring Officers and legal officers stand on the front line of upholding the Seven Nolan Principles.
Principle 7 – Leadership – states: public office holders should exhibit all the principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.
It’s never an easy place to be as a Monitoring Officer; it’s often unpleasant, lonely and poorly supported by others; sometimes career threatening. It’s vital they have the support of a robust and resilient Independent Person. The two together have to operate poorly written legislation with no credible sanctions against unacceptable member behaviour. But it is their turf and, like all front line troops, they are expected to stay steady under bombardment, and from time to time go over the top with all guns blazing.