Michelle Morris, Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, said:
As political leaders and Standards Committees across Wales take forward their new duties to promote high standards of conduct under the Local Government & Elections (Wales) Act 2021, I have taken the opportunity to review my guidance for members. This will help my office support them in their work and help all members fully understand the requirements placed upon them when fulfilling their role.
To support the Standards Committees, we will be making some minor changes to our process. We will continue to share our decisions with Monitoring Officers, as required by legislation. However, we will now be sharing the complaint and our decision in a standalone decision notice to facilitate the Monitoring Officers in sharing complaint information with Standards Committees (when they consider it appropriate to do so).
Whenever possible, I would like to see any concerns about a member’s conduct resolved locally and at an early stage. This can calm situations down and prevent the need for further escalation and formal investigation by my office. The guidance and the changes we have made to our process will assist Standards Committees by keeping them informed of current issues, so they can take steps to address any potential concerns.
Ensuring Standards Committees are adequately informed will also support them to draw up training plans. I, and members of the public, expect all members to take advantage of training which is available to them.
You can find the Code of Conduct Guidance for Members of County Borough Councils, Fire and Rescue Authorities, National Park Authorities and Police and Crime Panels on our website here.