CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEMBERS Adopted 6th August 2012.
INTRODUCTION AND INTERPRETATION
As a member and representative of this Council it is your responsibility to comply with this Code when you undertake or claim to be undertaking Council business or give the impression that you are undertaking Council business.
As a representative of this Council your actions impact on how the Council as a whole is viewed by the public. It is important, therefore, that you don’t do anything when undertaking Council business which you could not justify to the public. It is not enough to avoid actual impropriety, you should at all times avoid any occasion for suspicion or appearance of improper conduct.
This Code is based upon the seven principles of public life which are set out at Appendix 1. You shall have regard to those principles when fulfilling your role.
An explanation of the terms used in this Code can be found in Appendix 2.
1. GENERAL OBLIGATIONS
When undertaking Council business you must:
1.1 treat others with respect;
1.2 not use or attempt to use your position as a member improperly to give yourself or any other person, an advantage or disadvantage;
1.3 when reaching decisions on any matter, consider any relevant advice provided to you by—
a) the Council’s Responsible Finance Officer (RFO); or
b) the Council’s monitoring officer, or
c) the Proper Officer,
in accordance with his or her statutory duties;
1.4 give reasons for decisions in accordance with any statutory requirements;
1.5 act in accordance with the Council’s policies.
1.6 not use Council’s resources improperly (including for political purposes);
1.7 avoid doing anything which may cause the Council to breach a statutory duty or any of the equality enactments (as defined in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010);
1.8 not bully any person;
1.9 not intimidate or attempt to intimidate any person who is or is likely to be—
a) a complainant,
b) a witness,
c) involved in the administration of any investigation or proceedings, or
d) any other person carrying out the functions of the Council,
in relation to an allegation that a member (including yourself) has failed to comply with the Council’s code of conduct;
1.10 avoid doing anything which compromises or is likely to compromise the impartiality of those who work for, or on behalf of, the Council;
1.11 not disclose information given to you in confidence by anyone, or information acquired by you which you believe, or ought reasonably to be aware, is of a confidential nature, except where—
a) you have the consent of a person authorised to give it;
b) you are required by law to do so;
c) the disclosure is made to a third party for the purpose of obtaining professional legal advice provided that the third party agrees not to disclose the information to any other person; or
d) the disclosure is—
i. reasonable and in the public interest; and
ii. made in good faith and in compliance with the reasonable requirements of the Council; and
e) you have consulted the monitoring officer prior to its release;
1.12 not prevent another person from gaining access to information to which that person is entitled by law; and
1.13 not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or the Council into disrepute.
Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
2.1 You must register and declare any disclosable pecuniary interests that relate to your public duties as required by this Code, and set out in Appendix 3.
2.2 You must, within 28 days of this Code being adopted by the Council or your taking office as a member or co-opted member, register any disclosable pecuniary interests with the Council’s monitoring officer, where the disclosable pecuniary interest is yours, your spouse’s or civil partner’s, or is the disclosable pecuniary interest of somebody with whom you are living with as a husband or wife, or as if you were civil partners. Disclosable pecuniary interests will be recorded in the Council’s Register of Members’ Interests and made available for public inspection including on the District Council’s website. In addition it will be made available on the Council’s website if they have one.
2.3 Within 28 days of becoming aware of any new disclosable pecuniary interest or change to any such interest already registered, you must register details of that new interest or change in writing to the Council’s monitoring officer.
2.4 Where you have a disclosable pecuniary interest in any business of the Council, whether registered under 2.2 above or not, and you attend any meeting of the Council, or any Committee, Sub-Committee, or Joint Committee at which that business is to be considered, you must:
- not seek to influence a decision about that business
- disclose to that meeting the existence and nature of that interest no later than the start of the consideration of the business in which you have that interest, or (if later) the time at which the interest becomes apparent to you. The exception to the requirement to disclose an interest is if the matter is a sensitive interest under paragraph 2.11
- withdraw from the meeting room or chamber as soon as it becomes apparent that the business is being considered at that meeting; unless you have obtained a dispensation from the Council or Clerk .
2.5 Following any disclosure at a meeting or as part of a decision record, of a disclosable pecuniary interest not on the Council’s register or the subject of pending notification, you must notify the monitoring officer of the interest within 28 days beginning with the date of the disclosure at the meeting or in the decision record in order for the interest to be included in the register.
2.6 Unless dispensation has been granted, you may not participate in any discussion of, vote on, or discharge any function related to any matter in which you have a disclosable pecuniary interest. Additionally you must observe the restrictions the Council places on your involvement in matters where you have a disclosable pecuniary interest as defined by the Council and set out in this Code.
2.7 (1) In addition to the disclosable pecuniary interests notifiable under the Localism Act 2011, you must, within 28 days of—
a) This Code being adopted by or applied to the Council; or
b) Your election or appointment to office (where that is later),
give written notification to the Monitoring Officer of the details of your other personal interests, as defined below, for inclusion in the register of interests.
(2) You have a personal interest in any business of the Council where:
(a) it relates to or is likely to affect—
(i) any body of which you are a member or in a position of general control or management and to which you are appointed or nominated by the Council;
(ii) any body—
(aa) exercising functions of a public nature;
(bb) established for charitable purposes; or
(cc) one of whose principal purposes includes the influence of public opinion or policy (including any political party or trade union), of which you are a member or in a position of general control or management;
(b) where a decision in relation to any business of the Council might reasonably be regarded as affecting your well-being or financial position or the well-being or financial position of a relevant person to a greater extent than the majority of other council tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of the electoral division, as the case may be, affected by the decision;
(3) You must, within 28 days of becoming aware of any new personal interest or change to any such registered interest, notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of that new interest or change.
2.8(1) Subject to sub-paragraphs (2) to (4) below, where you are aware of a personal interest described in paragraph 2.7 above in any business of the Council, and you attend a meeting of the Council at which the business is considered, you must disclose to that meeting the existence and nature of that interest at the start of the consideration of that business, or when the interest becomes apparent to you.
(2) Where you have a personal interest in any business of the Council which relates to or is likely to affect a person described in paragraph 2.7 (2) (b) above, you need only disclose to the meeting the existence and nature of that interest if and when you address the meeting on that business.
(3) Where you have a personal interest but sensitive information relating to it is not registered in the Council’s register of members’ interests, you must indicate to the meeting that you have a personal interest, but need not disclose the sensitive information to the meeting.
(4) Any personal interests notified to the Monitoring Officer will be included in the register of interests.
(5) A copy of the register will be available for public inspection and will be published on the District Council’s website and the Council’s website (where applicable).
2.9 (1) Where you have a personal interest in any business of your Council you also have a prejudicial interest in that business where the interest is one which a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice your judgement of the public interest and where that business—
(a) affects your financial position or the financial position of a person or body described in paragraph 2.7 (2) (b); or
(b) relates to determining any approval, consent, licence, permission or registration in relation to you or any person or body described in paragraph 2.7 (2).
(2) Subject to paragraph (3) and (4), where you have a prejudicial interest in any business of your Council—
(a) You may not participate in any discussion of the matter at a meeting.
(b) You may not participate in any vote taken on the matter at a meeting.
(c) If the interest is not registered, you must disclose the interest to the meeting.
(d) You must leave the room where the meeting is held while any discussion or voting takes place on the matter.
(e) If the interest is not registered and is not the subject of a pending notification, you must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days.
(3) Where you have a prejudicial interest in any business of your Council, you may attend a meeting but only for the purpose of making representations, answering questions or giving evidence relating to the business, provided that the public are also allowed to attend the meeting for the same purpose, whether under a statutory right or otherwise and you leave the meeting room immediately after making representations, answering questions or giving evidence.
(4) Subject to you disclosing the interest at the meeting, you may attend a meeting and vote on a matter where you have a prejudicial interest that relates to the functions of your Council in respect of—
(i) statutory sick pay under Part XI of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, where you are in receipt of, or are entitled to the receipt of, such pay;
(ii) an allowance, payment or indemnity given to members;
(iii) any ceremonial honour given to members; and
(iv) setting council tax or a precept under the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
Receipts of gifts and hospitality
2.10(1) You must, within 28 days of receipt, notify the Monitoring Officer in writing of any gift, benefit or hospitality with a value in excess of £25 which you have accepted as a member from any person or body other than the Council.
(2) The Monitoring Officer will place your notification on a public register of gifts and hospitality.
2.11 Sensitive Interests
2.11(1) If you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or a Personal or Personal and Prejudicial Interest but you consider that disclosure of the interest could lead to you or a person connected with you being subject to violence or intimidation and the Monitoring Officer agrees with that assessment then instead of disclosing the interest you need only disclose that you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or Personal or Personal and Prejudicial Interest (as the case may be). In such instances any published version of the register of interests will exclude details of the interest but may state that you have an interest, the details of which are withheld.
Pre-determination or Bias
2.12 Guidance on Pre-determination or Bias is attached at Appendix 4.