Sunday, 21 February 2016

Could you be an 'Independent Person' to uphold Brent Council standards

At long last, after nudging by Wembley Matters contributor Philip Grant, Brent Council has advertised for three 'Independent Persons' LINK  Closing date for applications is Sunday March 6th:
--> Background Information:
Under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011 the way that Brent Council will deal with conduct complaints about its elected and co-opted members in its area is changing.
The statutory regulatory framework has been abolished and the Council is responsible for deciding how to deal with conduct issues at a local level, including adopting its own local code and determining what arrangements it will adopt to deal with complaints. 

The Act provides that the Council must appoint an Independent Person or Persons to assist the Council in promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct amongst its members.
Independent Persons are consulted on decisions to investigate complaints and before a decision is made on an investigated complaint. The Independent persons may also be consulted on other standard matters, including by the member who is subject to an allegation.

In addition, the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) Regulations 2001 (the 2001 Regulations) and the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (the 2015 Regulations).  The 2015 Regulations, which came into force on 11 May 2015, amend the way that Brent Council will deal with the disciplinary and conduct complaints against the Chief Executive, Chief Finance Officer and Monitoring Officer. 

The decision to dismiss the officers has to be taken by the full council but not before full council has considered, amongst other things, any advice, views or recommendations from a ‘panel’ (comprising of ‘independent persons’ appointed in accordance with certain statutory rules).
The Council now wishes to appoint three Independent Persons to assist in discharging these responsibilities.  Full details of the role and responsibilities of the Independent Person are included in this Recruitment Pack.

A fixed allowance of £419 per annum is payable together with reimbursement of travel expenses. The appointment will be for a fixed term of 2 years

Skills and Competencies:
The Independent Person will have:
·     a keen interest in standards in public life.
·     a wish to serve the local community and uphold local democracy.
·     the ability to be objective, independent and impartial.
·     sound decision making skills
·     leadership qualities, particularly in respect of exercising sound judgement.

The Independent Person will:
·     be a person in whose impartiality and integrity the public can have confidence.
·     understand and comply with confidentiality requirements.
·     have a demonstrable interest in local issues.
·     have an awareness of the importance of ethical behaviours.
·     be a good communicator.
·     Be a person with unspent criminal record (Rehabilitation of Offenders Act applies)

Desirable additional criteria are:
·     working knowledge/experience of local government or other public service and/or of large complex organisations and awareness of and sensitivity to the political process.
·     knowledge and understanding of judicial/quasi-judicial or complaints processes.

Means of assessment will be by application form and interview.

NOTE:  You will be required to be contactable during normal working hours by telephone or by email and to be available to attend hearings, some of which may be held in the day time and at relatively short notice.

Eligibility for Appointment
A person cannot be appointed as an Independent Person if they are or were within a period of five years prior to the appointment:
·     a member, co-opted member or officer of the authority.
·     a member, co-opted member or officer of a parish council in the District Council’s area,
·     or a relative or close friend of the above. 
Any involvement in political activity or campaigning, particularly at local level, may affect public perceptions of independence.  Applicants are asked to indicate the nature of such activity and whether it may affect public perception of independence.  
Regulations do not prevent Independent Members who previously served on the Council’s Standards Committee from being eligible to apply for the role, as this can assist with continuity of experience and therefore assist in the work of the Committee.


  1. If you intend to apply, you may have difficulty completing the online application form, or even getting past the first page of it. The following error message comes up:-

    'You must answer the following mandatory question: 1.1Do you have permission from the UK Border Agency to work in the UK? We will require sight of your passport, identity documents, visa with letters from the UKBA before any offer of employment can be confirmed. If you are not a citizen of the UK, please give details of your visa or other documents from the UK Border Agency: • type of visa held • duration of your permission to work • any work restrictions'

    Unfortunately, there is no "drop down" box which allows you to answer either "Yes" or "No" to this mandatory question!

    1. Update on the above:-

      Following an email yesterday to Brent's Recruitment Team, with copy to the Chief Executive, setting out this problem, I have been advised that the "Yes"/"No" drop down box for answering this question is now available (just above the box for giving details of your visa etc. if you are not a UK citizen).

      So, if you feel that you would make a good Independent Person for Brent Council, please go ahead with your application (by 6 March 2016).


    2. It's fortunate you're not a 'place shaper' Philip and thus sensible enough to spot the deliberate mistake. Or was it an initiative test for would-be Independent Persons, I wonder?

  2. UPDATE:

    The CLOSING DATE for applications for the Independent Persons positions at Brent Council has BEEN EXTENDED TO SUNDAY 13 MARCH (possibly because the newspaper advert for this "job" did not appear in the local B&K Times newspaper until Thursday 25 February, only ten days before the original closing date).

    If you are interested in applying, you can do so online at:

    Philip Grant.