Governance and scrutiny—role of the monitoring officer
Governance and scrutiny—role of the monitoring officer

The following Local Government guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Governance and scrutiny—role of the monitoring officer
  • Statutory duties of the Monitoring Officer
  • Practicalities of the Monitoring Officer's role
  • Code of Conduct duties
  • Handling of complaints
  • The Register of Interests
  • Dispensations
  • Conflicts of interest

This Practice Note relates only to England; the legislation is different in Wales.

Every local authority must designate one of its officers as the Monitoring Officer and provide that officer with such staff, accommodation and other resources as they consider sufficient to allow them to perform their duties.

The Monitoring Officer cannot be the authority's designated Head of Paid Service or its Chief Finance Officer, except in Police Authorities. Although the Monitoring Officer’s duties are essentially legal, there is currently no requirement for the officer to be legally qualified. The Law Society has called for legislative changes so that the statutory position of Monitoring Officer should be required to be held by a solicitor, barrister or legal executive with substantial legal experience, however the Government has not yet expressed a view.

The position of Monitoring Officer is pivotal to the protection of probity and the development of executive government in a local authority. There is no official job description or person specification but it is recommended that the authority draws one up. As well as the statutory duties, there is a raft of non-statutory functions which a conscientious Monitoring Officer will carry out and that can greatly assist the governance of the authority. A job description will inform both the Monitoring Officer and other officers of what will be expected of them and will