Martin Field of Burley Gate, Hereford says rules will put off would-be members (From Hereford Times)
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Martin Field of Burley Gate, Hereford says rules will put off would-be members
3:00pm Saturday 23rd June 2012 in Letters
AS THE clerk to four Herefordshire parish councils, I have today been notified that new pecuniary interest regulations – introduced under the Localism Act, 2011 – will come into force on July 1, (Readers’ Times Opinion June 14). As from that date it appears that all parish councillors will have to give notice to the monitoring officer of their disclosable pecuniary interests. The monitoring officer will then maintain a register of interests for each council and details will have to be published on council websites, if appropriate. Registrable interests declaration forms must be completed and returned to the monitoring officer by July 1 at the latest. Failure to comply will now be a criminal offence.
While I can accept that there is a need for this kind of legislation to cover MPs – particularly in view of recent revelations – I would point out that parish councillors are volunteers. They have little or no power other than to make comments and to give advice to their parent authorities.
It would be interesting to know exactly how many complaints have been made against parish councillors in respect of registrable interests.
Once again the words ‘sledgehammer and nut’ come to mind.
On a previous occasion, when councillors were first required to declare their financial interests, a number of members stepped down rather than have their personal affairs put on public display.
Unfortunately, with the risk of a criminal record hanging over them, I can see the same thing happening again.
MARTIN FIELD, Burley Gate, Hereford
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