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Ealing’s new ruling for councillors to make public the value of gifts or hospitality accepted

Ealing Council has updated its constitution highlighting that any gifts or hospitality a councillor accepts will now have to be made public if its value exceeds £25.

For many years, the value for gifts or hospitality to be declared was £100.

The new ruling follows other London councils such as Hounslow, Westminster,  Camden and Richmond who have a £25 policy while neighbouring borough Hammersmith & Fulham has a £50 or more amount to be declared and Harrow is £100.

Ealing Council said the move in reducing from £100 is in the “interests of openness and transparency”. The new £25 gifts and hospitality policy is now contained within the council’s constitution under Local code of conduct for councillors.

 

Change from declaring gifts and hospitality from £100 to £25 now for councillors
Change from declaring gifts and hospitality from £100 to £25 now for councillors

Following a report by Helen Harris, Ealing Council’s director of legal and democratic services, the council voted on 23 May 2023 and decided to implement the change as part of its constitution with immediate effect.

The council said it is being done: “In the interests of openness and transparency, changes are proposed to the Gifts and Hospitality section of the Local Code of Conduct for Councillors, to bring it into line with the more exacting requirements of the Planning Code of Conduct.”

In documents to make the change, Ealing Council said that its Planning Code of Conduct is: “to achieve greater openness and transparency, particularly with regard to meetings with developers, gifts and hospitality, and planning applications by or on behalf of councillors.”

New Planning Code of Conduct
New Planning Code of Conduct

Supporting the proposal along with the ruling Ealing Labour Party were official opposition Ealing Liberal Democrats as well as Ealing Conservatives.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Neil Reynolds chair of Ealing Green Party said: “This is a welcome change. It is important to know if councillors have a vested interest in any matter they are considering.”

An Ealing Council spokesperson told EALING.NEWS: “The limit was set at £100 for many years. The new limit of £25 is intended to be a catch-all for all but the most nominal gifts and hospitality.”

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