The Local Authorities (Members' Interests) Act 1968: Issues and options for reform.

The Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968 is a small but significant part of the legal framework for local democracy.

My Office has a unique role in overseeing matters that are governed by the Act. I regularly publish guidance for local authority members about how to comply with the Act (see my 2004 publication, Conflicts of interest – A guide to the Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968 and non-pecuniary conflicts of interest).

I decided it was time to address the question of whether the Act needed some reform, drawing on my Office’s many years worth of experience in working with the Act on a daily basis.

This report is in the nature of a discussion paper. It is intended to highlight what I see as difficulties with the current Act, and to suggest some options about how the Act might be improved.

It is not my role to say how any revised form of the Act must look. Decisions on policy questions are for others to make. But I think the time is right to reconsider how the rules governing the pecuniary interests of members of local authorities ought to work. I hope this report encourages relevant government agencies; local authority members, officers and advisers; and other interested stakeholders to start that dialogue.


K B Brady
Controller and Auditor-General

28 June 2005

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