Thursday, April 12, 2012

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Standards in
Local Government
May 2011
Standards in Local Government
The County of Powys covers 2000 square miles – about a quarter of Wales. It is a sparsely
populated upland area with a scattered population of 131,000 centred on a number of towns
including Welshpool, Newtown, Llandrindod Wells, Brecon and Ystradgynlais.
Powys County Council is a unitary authority with 110 Town and Community Councils across
the area and over 1,000 Town and Community Councillors.
What the Standards Committee does
Powys County Council has established a Standards Committee since 1999 following regulations
from the then Welsh Office prior to the requirement to constitute such a Committee by the
Local Government Act 2000.
The Standards Committee covers matters relating to Powys County Council and there is
a Standards Community Sub-Committee which covers matters relating to the Town and
Community Councils within Powys. Both Committees have 9 Members.
The role of the Committees is as follows:
(a) Promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct by councillors, co-opted
members and church and parent governor representatives.
(b) Assisting the councillors, co-opted members and church and parent governor
representatives; to observe the Members’ Code of Conduct.
(c) Advising the Council on the adoption or revision of the Members’ Code of Conduct.
(d) Monitoring the operation of the Members’ Code of Conduct.
(e) Advising, training or arranging to train councillors, co-opted members and church and
parent governor representatives on matters relating to the Members’ Code of Conduct.
(f) Granting dispensations to councillors, co-opted members and church and parent
governor representatives from requirements relating to interests set out in the Members’
Code of Conduct.
(g) Dealing with any reports from a case tribunal or interim case tribunal, and any report
from the Monitoring Officer on any matter referred to that officer by the Public Services
Ombudsman for Wales.
Standards Committee only
(h) Overseeing the Council’s whistle-blowing regime.
(i) Providing advice to individual councillors on such issues as the treatment of personal
interest and on conduct matters generally.
(j) Determining appropriate action on matters referred to it by the Public Services
Ombudsman for Wales.
(k) Overseeing the Register of Interest of members, co-opted members and church and
parent governor representatives and officers.
(l) Overseeing the Council’s rules and protocols on accountability of members.
(m) Overseeing the attendance of members and co-opted members at committees.
(n) Overseeing the training of members serving on all committees of the Council.
(o) Exercising an appellate role (independent members only) under the Habitual or
Vexatious Complainants policy.
Standards Committee
The Membership as at May 2011 is as follows:
Independent Members
Ralph Miller (Vice-Chairman)
Term of office: Appointed 27th January 2006 for six years.
Term expires 26th January 2012.
Ralph Miller has been a Member of the Powys Standards
Committee since 2006 and Vice-Chairman since 2009. He is a
Governor at Gwernyfed High School. He is a retired scientist
who had a varied career in the public and private sector
including posts in the Scientific Civil Service, Welsh Water,
Royal Mail and the BBC.
Peter Swanson (Chairman)
Term of office: Appointed 4th March 2002 for six years.
Reappointed 3rd March 2008 for four years. Term expires
2nd March 2012.
Peter Swanson has been a Member of the Powys Standards
Committee since 2002 and Chairman since July 2004. He
is a serving magistrate having been appointed as a Justice
of the Peace in 1983. In the past he has chaired the
Powys Health Board, Coleg Powys and was a member of
the Wales Agricultural Training Board. He has farmed in
Montgomeryshire since 1970 before which he ran a chain
of hotels and restaurants in Birmingham.
Susan Jarman
Term of office: Appointed 25th November 2007 for six years. Term expires 24th October 2013.
Susan Jarman was appointed to the Powys Standards Committee in 2007. She has worked in the
Banking business and for the Post Office. In 1992 she became a magistrate on the Montgomeryshire
Bench and has been Deputy Chairman since 2006. She served on the Dyfed Powys Magistrates Court
Committee before Her Majesty’s Courts Service undertook management of magistrates’ courts.
Marian Harris
Term of office: Appointed 22nd June 2004 for six years. Reappointed 29th April 2010 for four years.
Term expires 21st June 2014.
Marian Harris was appointed to the Powys Standards Committee in 2004. Now retired she worked as a
secretary in a Solicitors’ office in Abergavenny and Llanidloes, at Neville Hall Hospital, Abergavenny and
as Deputy Practice Manager in Rhayader Surgery. She has served on the Rhayader Primary School and
Llanidloes High School Governing Bodies. She believes that fair play and common sense are of utmost
Helen Rhydderch-Roberts
Term of office: Appointed 14th May 2009 for six years. Term expires 13th May 2015.
Helen Rhydderch-Roberts was appointed to the Powys Standards Committee in 2009 and had a career in
human resources and executive search in the City before moving to Wales with her family. She is Chair
of Governors at her local primary school and takes a keen interest in politics. She believes strongly in the
democratic process and the importance of up-holding standards in public life as integral to the workings
of democracy.
Kelvyn Curry Term of office May 2008 – May 2012.
Kelvyn Curry has been a member of the Powys County Council Standards Committee for over ten years,
firstly as a Community Council representative and since 2008 as a County Councillor. Formerly a teacher,
he retired from his post with the University of Warwick in 2007. He has been a magistrate for ten years,
served as Chair of Governors of a primary School for over ten years and a Chair of the East Wales
Valuation Tribunal for over fifteen years. He is currently a member of the governing body of a primary
and secondary school and is very involved in the local community which he represents as a County
Councillor. Kelvyn believes that public confidence in local government requires a strong ethical approach,
which also fosters better governance.
Fred Barker Term of office May 2008 – May 2012.
Fred Barker has been a County Councillor since 1995 when elected onto the shadow Powys County
Council. Prior to that he was a District Councillor at Radnor District Council.
He served as an elected member of Chester County Borough Council from May 1954 – 1974 including six
years as an Alderman. He was appointed Sheriff of the City in 1964 and Mayor of the City in 1968
serving time as a member of the Investiture Committee. He was a Justice of the Peace between 1957
and 1984, and has been a member of the Supplementary Panel since that date. He was a member of
the Liverpool Regional Hospital Board 1977 – 1983.
Viola Evans Term of office May 2008 – May 2012.
Viola Evans was elected to Powys County Council in 1999 and has been a Member of Llanfair Caereinion
Town Council since 1974. She has chaired numerous committees including Chair of Montgomeryshire
and Chair of Powys County Council in 2008-09. Viola has also been a Member of the Mid Wales Film
Commission. Before becoming a Councillor Viola had 30 year career working for the Wales Tourist Board
becoming the Director of the Mid Wales Region.
Mike Hodges Term of office May 2008 – May 2012.
Michael Hodges has been a Town Councillor since 2004, being elected a County Councillor in 2008 since
when he has served on the Powys Standards Committee. He was appointed onto the Dyfed Powys Police
Authority in June 2008 where he chairs the Audit Committee. Michael believes there should be a
stronger role for Standards Committees enabling complaints to be dealt with faster. His main outside
interest is St John Cymru Wales of which he is an elected Trustee. Michael is a well known figure in
Llandrindod Wells running a Post Office and General Store.
Clare Evans – representing Radnorshire
Term of office May 2008 – May 2012
Clare Evans has worked in local government for urban and rural areas and was a former Head of
European Affairs with Newport City Council before leaving to undertake various consultancy roles
and to develop her own business. Clare has always been interested in local affairs and has been an
independent member of Rhayader Town Council for over 10 years and was the first female mayor of
that Council. Clare is an appointed member of the Wales Committee of the Consumer Council for
Wales. Clare strongly believes that confidence in our representatives and institutions is a pre-requisite
for an enabling local democracy.
Hywel Evans – representing Montgomeryshire
Term of office May 2008 – May 2012
Hywel Evans has served as Community Councillor for Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa since 1982 as past
chairman and is the current chairman. He has served on the Powys Standards Committee since 2004.
Hywel holds a firm belief in maintaining high ethical standards and clarity in every level of life whether
it be local government or business. He also believes in keeping things simple to understand and
maintaining a commonsense approach.
Revd Alan Jevons – representing Brecknockshire
Term of office May 2008 – May 2012
Alan Jevons is a cleric in the Church in Wales, at present working in and around Llangorse. In the
past he has worked in the rural parts of Herefordshire, as well as urban areas around Birmingham and
Manchester. His interests have always veered away from church to community issues. At present he is
Chair of a local Community Council and an Officer for the Diocesan Board for Social Responsibility.
Peter Swanson (Chairman)
Ralph Miller (Vice-Chairman)
Marian Harris
Susan Jarman
Helen Rhydderch-Roberts
County Councillor
Kelvyn Curry
Community Councillors
In Powys elections are held to appoint
Community Council representatives with the
same four year term of office as for County
Councillors. Community Councillors are
eligible to stand for two consecutive terms
of office.
Standards Community Sub-Committee
Independent Members
10 Officers who support
the Standards Committees
Clarence Meredith – Strategic Director Law and
Governance and Monitoring Officer
01597 82 6395
Janet Kealey
Legal Services Manager and Deputy Monitoring Officer
01597 82 6385
Saira Tamboo – Solicitor
01597 82 6071
Wyn Richards – Scrutiny Services Manager
01597 82 6375
Liz Patterson - Committee Clerk
01597 82 6980
These officers are able to provide legal and procedural advice on the Code of
Conduct to members, co-optees, town and community councillors and clerks,
and members of the public.
All Councillors and co-opted Members of Powys County Council received training on the Members’ Code
of Conduct on taking office in 2008.
All Chairman and Clerks of Town and Community Councils or their representatives were offered training
on the Members’ Code of Conduct during 2008. These sessions covered compliance with the new
Members’ Code of Conduct and encouraged councillors where appropriate to apply to the Standards
Committees for dispensations. Refresher training was provided mid term in the summer of 2010.
Future Training
Training is offered at the beginning of the term of office to enable new Members to receive prompt
training on the Code of Conduct. Refresher training is offered.
The Standards Committees appreciate the time constraints of particularly voluntary town and community
councillors but would stress the importance of all councillors understanding the ethical framework which
governs their role as councillors. Attendance at training on the Members’ Code of Conduct helps to
guard against behaviour which could result in a complaint to the Ombudsman.
Any County Councillor, co-opted Member or town or community councillor who considers that they have
a personal and prejudicial interest in a matter may apply to the Standards Committee (in the case of
County Councillors or co-opted Members) or the Standards Community Sub-Committee (in the case of
town and community councillors) for a dispensation to allow them to speak, or speak and vote on a
matter which they would otherwise have to leave the room. The relevant committee will consider their
application and advise the applicant and the clerk of the decision.
Applications for dispensation by Town and Community Councillors should
be submitted by the Clerk. Application forms can be obtained from
12 Public Services Ombudsman
for Wales
The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales receives complaints that Councillors or co-opted
Members have broken the Code of Conduct. The Ombudsman decides whether or not there
is a case to investigate and if so if the case were to be proved whether it would result in a
sanction. If it is found that there is a case to investigate and it is proved then the case is
either sent to the local Standards Committee or to the Adjudication Panel for Wales to
consider the case depending on the severity of the matter, and the likely sanction. The
Standards Committees have the power to suspend a councillor for a period of up to six
months. The Adjudication Panel has the power to disqualify a councillor for a period of up
to five years.
Annual Standards Conference
Powys send a delegation of Standards Committee Members and Officer/s to attend the Annual
Standards Conference. The outcomes of the Conference are fed back to the Committees. In
2010 the conference was held in Cardiff and delegates were given the opportunity to network
with Members and Officers from across Wales. The conference explored the current public
perception of standards and ethics in the public arena and of the importance in maintaining
openness and transparency in the work of Councils. The 2011 Standards Conference Wales
will be held in Llandrindod Wells.
For further information see
Register of Members’
It is a requirement that all Councillors make a declaration of personal interests in a public
register. They must also sign a declaration of acceptance of office in which they agree to abide
by the Code of Conduct within 28 days of taking office. Any amendments to the declaration of
personal interests must be notified within 28 days of a Member becoming aware of a change.
The register for County Councillors is a public document available for inspection at County Hall
during office hours.
Councillors are also required to disclose personal and prejudicial interests at meetings which
they attend, or when they are in discussions with other Members and Officers where they have
such interests, as well as making the requisite written declarations, which are also available
online as above.
For Town and Community Councils the registers of interests and declarations are held by the
Clerk to the Council.
It is available for public inspection on-line at