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Under the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, councils have a duty to appoint a monitoring officer to ensure the lawfulness and fairness of council decision-making.

The monitoring officer effectively serves as the guardian of the council's constitution and the decision-making process. He is responsible for advising the council on the legality of its decisions and providing guidance to councillors and officers on the council's constitution and its powers. He has a responsibility to report breaches and possible breaches of the law or maladministration to the council.

The monitoring officer also works closely with the council's standards committee to assist it in its role of promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct and probity within the council.