Former Cambridgeshire police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite is one of two town and parish councillors to be co-opted to the conduct committee of Fenland District Council.
Cllr Ablewhite is a member of Benwick Parish Council and will join Cllr Martin Field of March Town Council on the committee.
They were the only two candidates to apply for the role after Fenland Council emailed all town and parish councils looking for two councillors to be co-opted to the conduct committee.
Surely you're not saying @FenlandCouncil is the 'best behaved' council in the county/country? Until today, in past four years it's conduct committee has met once. Today's (led by new chair @stevecount) lasted 10 minutes. Oct 2019, Jan 2020 (not showing) meetings also cancelled. pic.twitter.com/ooSVWoOLf8
— John Elworthy (@johnelworthy) July 13, 2023
The district council is constitutionally required to appoint up to two town and parish councillors to the committee.
Both new conduct committee members will sit in an advisory role; they can speak, raise questions and “seek to influence the debate” but do not have formal voting rights.
Today’s meeting of the conduct committee, which lasted just 10 minutes, confirmed Cllr Steve Count as the new chair, with Cllr Alan Gowler of Chatteris as his vice chair.
It was the first meeting of the conduct committee since December 2020. Nine scheduled meetings of the committee since then were cancelled.
In his application, Cllr Ablewhite informed the committee that he had extensive experience within the local government arena for over 22 years.
“I believe I can bring experience, impartiality and duty to the role,” he said.
Cllr Ablewhite also told the committee he had been involved in the original set up and consultation of the Standards Board of England and Wales “albeit in a different guise, now, I can appreciate the need for an effective and fair process”.
Cllr Ablewhite is a former Mayor of St Ives, executive leader of Huntingdonshire District Council and chairman of the East of England Local Government Association.
He served as police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire from 2016-2019.
Mr Ablewhite’s departure from the post followed an inquiry by The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
Cllr Ablewhite’s application was endorsed by the leader of Fenland Council Chris Boden and by Wisbech councillor Steve Tierney.
Cllr Field told the conduct committee he wanted to join as “I think it is essential that we can account for the good conduct of our elected representatives.
“It is necessary that this committee represents a broad spectrum of the community and not be wholly made up of representatives of one political party where the public may question the independence of the decisions made,” he said.
Cllr Field’s application was endorsed by Nigel Spencer MBE and Cllr Gary Christy
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