Peterborough parish councillors warned about £5k fines after declaration interests not completed

Cllr David Seaton (left) during the meeting
Cllr David Seaton (left) during the meeting
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Peterborough parish councillors could face fines of up to £5,000 or be suspended from standing for up to five years if they fail to complete a Members Interest Declaration.

Members of Peterborough City Council’s Constitution & Ethics Committee were told that up to 14 parish councillors have not declared their interests despite it being a legal obligation.

Chairman Cllr David Seaton said: “This committee has an obligation to find out why these parish councillors have not completed a Members Interest Declaration.

“If we do not, then they could be found liable and be fined or even suspended - it has been known to happen in the past.”

The matter was raised by Rachel Edwards, council head of constitutional services at the meeting on Monday.

She said: “This is very a serious matter and has resulted in the suspension and even disqualification of parish councillors in other parts of the country who do not properly complete a Members Interest Declaration.

“It is a legal obligation under the Localism Act 2011 for all parish councillors to be open and transparent about their personal interests.”

Cllr Seaton confirmed that every effort had been made to contact the 14 parish councillors in question.

He added: “I suggest that we instruct council officers to immediately start a training programme for the parish clerks to update them on the importance of the Training Code and their obligations to it under the law.”

The parish councillors in question have variously either presented an improperly completed Members Interest Declaration, or they have not completed one for some considerable time, or ever.

The training programme for the parish clerks will be one to two hours in length and cost £1.200.