The new North Yorkshire Council is seeking to recruit at least one independent volunteer to help to ensure that high standards are maintained by elected members.
Applications are being invited for the role of an independent person for standards to assist the standards and governance committee and monitoring officer when North Yorkshire Council launches on April 1, replacing the current county council and seven district and borough councils.
The committee advises and supports the council and its members on the members’ code of conduct and related ethical issues. It may be involved in handling complaints against members of alleged breaches of the code.
Independent persons for standards help the council in promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct among elected and co-opted members as well as members of town and parish councils.
A primary function of their role is to offer independent views on complaints and to help the monitoring officer in assessing whether action should be taken. They may also be consulted on other standards matters and may be required to attend a chief officer’s disciplinary panel. They will be invited to meetings of the committee.
North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for corporate services, Cllr David Chance, said: “It is essential that the highest standards are maintained by members of North Yorkshire’s new council. The independent persons for standards play a vital role in ensuring that is the case, bringing an independent voice and expertise to any complaints that should arise.
“It is not only a legal requirement to have at least one independent person to help in dealing with complaints, it is also a desirable and integral part of the process. The ideal candidate will have an interest in ethical standards in the public sector, be a confident communicator and be capable of dealing with complex issues.”
Successful applicants will take up the role from May. Applicants should expect to attend at least two meetings of the committee each year, as well as sub-committee meetings dealing with complaints and training sessions. Meetings are held during office hours, usually at County Hall, Northallerton, but virtual attendance may be possible.
The county council and the seven district and borough authorities will merge from April 1 to pave the way for a devolution deal that is set to transfer decision-making powers and millions of pounds of funding from Westminster to local political leaders.