There has been further confirmation that the current standards board regime is on the way out and will be scrapped in the Localism Bill. The idea is that standards in local public office will be upheld by the criminal courts, with new criminal offences, but the government intends that the current system, which can lead to delays, unnecessary administration and cost will come to an end. Mr Pickles said;

"The standards board regime became the problem, not the solution. Unsubstantiated and petty allegations, often a storm in a teacup, damaged the reputation and standing of local government, as well as wasting taxpayers' money."

This will be very welcome in the planning context where councillors often come under unnecessary scrutiny on matters which are unrelated to and have no bearing on their role as members of planning committee. Quite how these changes will pan out in terms of the "predetermination" cases, remains to be seen however.

For the whole announcement click here