A council may introduce a special committee to help councillors maintain high standards of conduct.

Earlier this year, Labour-run Durham City Council was at the centre of a Fraud Squad probe into a land deal that ended with no charges being brought.

The District Auditor also found no evidence of impropriety over the awarding of a contract for the production of a film on the city's history for a new visitor centre.

The council's deputy leader Mildred Brown has been suspended by regional officials carrying out an inquiry into an allegation of racism by a former council officer.

Today, the council's strategic policy committee will be recommended to set up a standards committee.

The proposed committee would have two Labour members, one each from opposition parties and two independent members from outside the council.

The aim of the committee, which could meet in public, would be to promote good standards, monitor and implement councillors' code of conduct and hear complaints about members' behaviour.

It could censure councillors deemed to have breached the code and recommend that they be stripped of posts such as chairmanships or memberships of outside bodies.

It could also recommended that a councillor's political party take disciplinary action