Further progress for the cause of transparency and accountability. Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis has announced new rules to increase town hall transparency by producing guidance requiring councillors to register trade union affiliations and dealings. This is intended to avoid conflicts of interest when councils consider issues directly affecting trade unions, such as reviews of taxpayer-funded subsidies given to trade unions.
Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said:
"For too long residents have been kept in the dark about what union affiliations their councillors hold. All councillors should disclose all their personal and financial interests on a public register, including registering union interests. Given the public debate about ‘facility time’ and ‘pilgrims’ in local government, it’s vital that conflicts of interest are avoided. These transparency reforms will give local people the confidence that their councillors are putting residents’ interests before their own.
"The new guidance builds on existing transparency measures introduced as part of the Localism Act and is part of the new arrangements for local authority standards that replaced the bureaucratic and controversial Standards Board regime, abolished in 2012, which ministers believe had become a vehicle for malicious, petty and politically motivated complaints."
Councillors in the pay of trade unions should not participate in votes deciding whether or not trade unions should be in the pay of councils.