Independent members

Who is an independent member?

Independent members are members of standards committees with no link to the authority they are overseeing. They are important in helping increase public confidence in the local standards framework. They provide a clear signal that the standards committee is acting fairly and impartially. Independent members also bring a wider perspective from their outside experiences. A person can only be an independent member if they:

Attributes and skills of an independent member

Coming from outside the authority gives the independent member a different perspective and gives balance to the standards committee. Some of the attributes and skills expected of an independent member are:

The process of selecting an independent member

The position of independent member will be published in at least one local newspaper and in other similar publications or websites.

Each authority will have slightly different procedures for the recruitment of independent members but all will have an application and interview process. The appointment of an independent member has to be approved by a majority of the members of the council.

Each authority decides how to select independent members and how long an independent member should sit on the committee. This period of time should be long enough for them to gain an understanding of the committee, the authority and its workings, but not so long that independence is lost.

Independent members on multiple standards committees

An independent member can be a member of several standards committees, for example on county and district committees. Independent members may also be temporarily appointed to another standards committee to consider a particular assessment, review or hearing or for a particular period of time. For example, an independent member can be appointed to a neighbouring standards committee for a short period in situations where a permanent member is unwell or if there is a conflict of interest.

Reappointment of independent members

Standards for England recommend independent members should serve no longer than two four year terms, but this is at the discretion of each authority.

Independent members cannot be automatically reappointed, and must go through a recruitment process.

Find out more

Published on 4th January 2010.




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