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Code of Conduct

Policies Uploaded on May 25, 2022
Adopted by CMPC 09/05/2022 Minute 134/22
Page 1 of 16
Approved 3rd12.2020 Updated 19January and 17 May 2021
Local GovernmentAssociation
Model Councillor Code of Conduct 2020
Joint statement
The role of councillor across all tiers of local government is avital part of ourcountry’s system of democracy. It is important that ascouncillors we can be heldaccountable andall adopt thebehaviors andresponsibilitiesassociated with therole. Our conduct as an individual councillor affectsthe reputationof all councillors.We want the role ofcouncillor tobe onethat peopleaspire to. We also wantindividuals from a range ofbackgrounds and circumstances to be puttingthemselvesforward to become councillors. As councillors, we represent local residents, work to develop betterservices anddeliver local change. The public have highexpectations of usand entrust ustorepresent our local area,takingdecisionsfairly, openly, andtransparently. Wehavebothanindividual and collectiveresponsibility tomeet theseexpectations bymaintaining high standards and demonstratinggood conduct, and bychallengingbehaviour whichfalls belowexpectations. Importantly, we shouldbe able to undertakeour role as a councillor without beingintimidated, abused, bullied,or threatened byanyone, includingthe generalpublic. This Code hasbeendesigned toprotect ourdemocratic role, encourage goodconduct andsafeguardthepublic’strust in local government.
Page 2of 16Approved 3rd12.2020 Updated 19January and 17 May 2021IntroductionThe LocalGovernment Association (LGA) hasdeveloped this Model Councillor Codeof Conduct, in association with keypartners and after extensiveconsultation with thesector, as part of itswork on supporting alltiersof local government to continuetoaspiretohighstandardsof leadership andperformance. It is atemplate for councilsto adopt inwholeand/or with localamendments. All councils arerequired to have a localCouncillor Code of Conduct. The LGAwillundertake an annual review ofthis Code toensure it continues tobe fit-for-purpose, incorporating advancesin technology, social mediaandchangesinlegislation. The LGAcanalsooffer support,training andmediation tocouncilsandcouncillors onthe applicationof the Code andtheNational Association of LocalCouncils (NALC)andthe countyassociationsof localcouncils canoffer adviceandsupport totownandparish councils. DefinitionsFor the purposesof this Code of Conduct, a“councillor” means amember or co-opted member of a localauthority or adirectly electedmayor. A “co-optedmember”is definedin the Localism Act 2011Section 27(4) as“apersonwho isnot amember of the authoritybut whoa)is a member of anycommittee or sub-committeeof the authority, or; b)is a member of, andrepresentsthe authority on, any joint committeeor jointsub-committee of theauthority; and who isentitledtovote onanyquestionthat falls to bedecidedat anymeeting ofthat committee or sub-committee”. For the purposesof this Code of Conduct, “localauthority” includes county councils, district councils,Londonborough councils, parishcouncils, town councils, fireandrescueauthorities, policeauthorities,joint authorities, economicprosperity boards, combined authorities andNationalPark authorities. Purpose of the Code of ConductThe purposeofthis Codeof Conduct istoassist you, asacouncillor, in modellingthe behaviour that is expected of you, to provide apersonal checkand balance, andto setout the type of conduct that couldleadto action beingtaken against you.It isalso toprotect you, the public,fellow councillors, local authorityofficers andthereputation of localgovernment. It setsout general principlesof conduct expected ofall councillors andyour specific obligations in relation to standards of conduct. The LGAencouragesthe use of support, trainingandmediation prior toaction beingtaken using theCode. Thefundamental aim of the Codeis tocreate andmaintainpublic confidence inthe role of councillor and local government.
Page 3of 16Approved 3rd12.2020 Updated 19January and 17 May 2021General principles of councillor conductEveryonein public office at all levels; all who serve thepublic or deliver public services, includingministers, civil servants, councillors and localauthority officers;should upholdtheSevenPrinciples of Public Life,also known asthe NolanPrinciples. Buildingontheseprinciples, thefollowinggeneralprincipleshavebeendevelopedspecifically for the role of councillor. In accordance withthepublic trust placed inme,on all occasions: • I act with integrity andhonesty• I act lawfully• I treat all personsfairly and with respect; and• I lead byexampleand act in away thatsecurespublic confidence intheroleof councillor. In undertakingmy role: • I impartiallyexercisemy responsibilitiesin the interests of the local community• I donot improperly seek to confer an advantage, or disadvantage, on any person• I avoidconflicts of interest • I exercisereasonablecare and diligence; and• I ensurethat public resourcesareusedprudentlyin accordance withmylocalauthority’s requirements and in thepublic interest. Application ofthe Code of ConductThis Code of Conductapplies toyouassoonas you sign your declaration ofacceptanceof theoffice of councillor or attend your firstmeetingas a co-optedmember and continuestoapply to you untilyouceasetobe a councillor. This Code of Conductapplies toyouwhenyouare acting inyour capacityas acouncillor which may include when: • you misuseyour positionasa councillor • Your actions would givethe impression to a reasonablemember of the public with knowledge of all the facts that you areactingas acouncillor; The Codeappliestoall formsof communication and interaction, including: • at face-to-facemeetings• at online ortelephonemeetings• in writtencommunication • in verbal communication • in non-verbalcommunication • in electronicand socialmediacommunication, posts, statements andcomments. You are alsoexpectedtoupholdhighstandards of conduct andshow leadershipatall timeswhen acting asacouncillor. Your MonitoringOfficer has statutory responsibility for the implementationof theCode of Conduct, andyou areencouragedtoseek advicefrom yourMonitoringOfficer on anymatters thatmayrelate to theCode of Conduct. Townand parishcouncillors are encouraged toseekadvice from their Clerk, who may refer matterstotheMonitoring
Page 4of 16Approved 3rd12.2020 Updated 19January and 17 May 2021Officer. Standardsof councillorconductThissectionsetsoutyourobligations,whicharetheminimumstandardsofconductrequiredof youasa councillor. Should your conduct fallshort of these standards, acomplaint maybe made against you, which may result inaction being taken. Guidance is included to helpexplainthe reasons for theobligations andhow theyshould be followed. General Conduct1.RespectAs acouncillor:1.1 I treat other councillors and members of thepublicwith respect.1.2 I treat localauthorityemployees, employees and representativesofpartner organisationsand those volunteering forthelocal authority withrespect and respect therole theyplay.Respectmeanspoliteness andcourtesy in behaviour, speech, andinthewritten word. Debateandhaving different views areall part of ahealthy democracy. As acouncillor, youcanexpress, challenge, criticiseanddisagreewith views, ideas,opinions andpoliciesina robust but civil manner.You should not, however, subjectindividuals,groups of people or organisationsto personalattack. In your contact withthe public, youshouldtreat them politelyandcourteously. Rudeandoffensivebehaviour lowers the public’s expectations andconfidence incouncillors. In return, you have aright to expect respectful behaviour from thepublic. Ifmembersof thepublicarebeing abusive, intimidatory or threateningyou areentitledto stopanyconversationor interaction inpersonor online andreport them tothelocal authority, therelevant social media provider or the police. Thisalso applies tofellowcouncillors, where action couldthen betaken under theCouncillor Code of Conduct,and local authority employees, whereconcerns should beraised in line with thelocalauthority’s councillor-officer protocol. 2.Bullying, harassment and discriminationAs acouncillor:2.1 I do not bullyanyperson.2.2 I do not harassany person.2.3 I promote equalitiesand do not discriminate unlawfully against any person.The Advisory, Conciliation and ArbitrationService(ACAS) characterisesbullying as offensive, intimidating,malicious or insultingbehaviour, an abuse ormisuse of power throughmeansthat undermine,humiliate,denigrate or injuretherecipient. Bullyingmight be a regularpatternofbehaviour or a one-off incident,happenface-to-face, onsocial media, in emails or phone calls, happen in theworkplace or at work socialevents and maynotalways be obviousornoticedbyothers. The Protectionfrom Harassment Act 1997definesharassment asconduct thatcauses alarm or distressor putspeoplein fear of violenceand must involve suchconduct on at least two occasions. It canincluderepeatedattempts toimposeunwantedcommunications and
Page 5of 16Approved 3rd12.2020 Updated 19January and 17 May 2021contact upon apersoninamanner that couldbeexpectedto causedistress or fear inanyreasonable person. Unlawful discriminationiswhere someoneis treatedunfairly because of aprotectedcharacteristic. Protected characteristics are specific aspects of a person’s identity defined by theEqualityAct 2010. They areage, disability, genderreassignment, marriage andcivil partnership, pregnancyandmaternity, race,religionor belief, sexand sexual orientation. The Equality Act 2010 places specific duties onlocalauthorities. Councillors have acentral role toplay inensuringthat equalityissuesareintegraltothe local authority’sperformanceandstrategicaims, andthat thereis astrong vision andpublic commitmenttoequality acrosspublicservices. 3.Impartiality of officers of the councilAs a councillor: 3.1 I do not compromise, or attempt to compromise, theimpartiality of anyone whoworksfor, or on behalf of, the local authority.Officers work for the local authority asa wholeand must be politically neutral(unlessthey are politicalassistants). They should notbe coercedor persuadedtoact in awaythat would underminetheir neutrality. Youcanquestionofficers inordertounderstand, for example, theirreasonsfor proposingtoact in a particular way, or thecontent of areportthat they have written. However, you must nottryandforce themto actdifferently, changetheir advice, or alterthe content ofthat report, if doing sowould prejudice theirprofessional integrity. 4.Confidentiality andaccesstoinformationAs acouncillor:4.1 I do not disclose information:a.given to me in confidencebyanyoneb.acquired bymewhichI believe, orought reasonably to beaware, is of a confidential nature, unlessi.I havereceived theconsent of aperson authorisedtogiveit;ii.I am required bylawto do so;iii.the disclosure is made to athird party forthe purpose of obtainingprofessional legal advice providedthat the third party agreesnot todisclose the information to any other person; oriv.the disclosure is:1.reasonableand in thepublicinterest; and2.made in goodfaithandincompliance withthereasonable requirementsof the local authority; and3.I have consultedtheMonitoring Officer priorto its release.4.2 I do notimproperly useknowledge gainedsolelyas aresult ofmy roleas acouncillor for the advancement of myself, my friends, myfamilymembers, my employer ormybusiness interests.4.3 I do not prevent anyone from getting information that they areentitledtoby law.
Page 6of 16Approved 3rd12.2020 Updated 19January and 17 May 2021Local authoritiesmust work openly andtransparently,and theirproceedings andprintedmaterials areopento thepublic, except in certain legallydefinedcircumstances. Youshould work onthis basis, butthere will betimeswhen it isrequired bylaw thatdiscussions, documents andother information relatingtoor heldbythe local authoritymust be treated in a confidential manner. Examples includepersonal data relatingto individuals or informationrelatingto ongoing negotiations. 5.DisreputeAs acouncillor:5.1 I do not bring myrole or local authority into disrepute.As a Councillor, you aretrusted tomake decisions onbehalf of yourcommunity andyour actionsandbehaviour are subjecttogreater scrutinythanthatof ordinarymembers of thepublic. Youshouldbe aware that your actionsmight have anadverseimpact on you, other councillors and/or your localauthority andmay lowerthepublic’sconfidence inyour or your local authority’s ability todischargeyour/itsfunctions. Forexample, behaviourthat is considereddishonestand/or deceitful canbringyour localauthority intodisrepute. You are abletoholdthelocal authority andfellow councillors to account and areableto constructively challengeand expressconcernabout decisionsandprocessesundertakenby thecouncilwhilst continuingtoadhere to other aspects of thisCodeofConduct. 6.Use of positionAs a councillor:6.1 I do not use, orattempt touse, my position improperlyto the advantageordisadvantageof myself or anyoneelse.Your positionasamember of thelocalauthority provides youwith certainopportunities, responsibilities, and privileges,andyoumake choices all the timethatwill impact others. However, youshould not take advantage oftheseopportunitiestofurther your ownor others’ private interestsor to disadvantageanyoneunfairly. 7.Use of local authorityresources andfacilitiesAs acouncillor:7.1 I do not misuse council resources.7.2 I will, when using theresources of thelocal authority or authorisingtheir useby others:a. act in accordancewiththe local authority’s requirements; andb. ensure that such resources are not usedfor political purposesunless that use couldreasonably beregarded aslikely tofacilitate, orbe conduciveto, thedischargeof thefunctionsof thelocal authorityorof the officetowhichI havebeenelectedorappointed.You maybeprovided with resourcesand facilitiesby thelocal authority to assist youin carrying out your dutiesas acouncillor. Examples include: • office support • stationery • equipment suchas phones,and computers • transport
Page 7of 16Approved 3rd12.2020 Updated 19January and 17 May 2021• access and use of local authority buildings androoms. These aregiven toyouto help you carry out your roleas acouncillormoreeffectively and are notto beusedfor business or personal gain. Theyshouldbeused inaccordancewiththe purposefor which they havebeenprovidedand thelocal authority’s own policies regardingtheiruse. 8.Complyingwith the Code of ConductAs aCouncillor:8.1 I undertakeCodeof Conduct trainingprovidedby mylocal authority.8.2 I cooperatewithanyCodeof Conduct investigationand/or determination.8.3 I do not intimidate or attempt tointimidate anypersonwho is likely tobe involvedwiththe administrationof anyinvestigationorproceedings.8.4 I complywithanysanction imposed onmefollowing afindingthat Ihave breached the Code of Conduct.It is extremely important for youasa councillor to demonstratehighstandards, foryoutohave your actionsopen to scrutiny andfor you not tounderminepublictrust inthe local authority or itsgovernance. If you do not understand or areconcernedabout the local authority’s processesinhandling acomplaint youshould raisethis with your MonitoringOfficer. Protecting your reputation and thereputation of thelocal authority9.InterestsAs a councillor:9.1 I register and disclosemy interests.Section 29 of the Localism Act 2011requires the MonitoringOfficer to establish and maintain aregister of interestsof members of theauthority . You needto register your interests sothat thepublic, localauthorityemployees andfellow councillors knowwhich of your interestsmight give risetoa conflict of interest.Theregister is apublic document that can beconsultedwhen (orbefore) anissuearises. Theregister also protects you byallowing you todemonstrateopennessanda willingness to beheldaccountable.You arepersonally responsiblefor decidingwhether or not you should disclosean interest in ameeting,but it can behelpful foryou toknow early onif othersthinkthat apotentialconflict mightarise. It is also importantthat thepublic knowabout anyinterest thatmight have to be disclosed byyouor other councillors whenmaking or takingpart indecisions, sothatdecisionmaking isseenby thepublicasopenand honest. This helps toensure that publicconfidenceinthe integrity of localgovernanceis maintained. You should note that failure to register or disclosea disclosablepecuniary interest asset out inTable1, is a criminal offenceunderthe Localism Act 2011. Appendix B setsoutthedetailedprovisions onregisteringanddisclosinginterests. Ifin doubt, youshould always seek advicefrom your MonitoringOfficer.
Page 8of 16Approved 3rd12.2020 Updated 19January and 17 May 202110.Giftsand hospitalityAs a councillor:10.1 I do not accept giftsorhospitality,irrespectiveof estimatedvalue,which could giverisetoreal orsubstantivepersonal gain or areasonablesuspicion of influenceon mypart toshow favour frompersonsseeking to acquire, develop or do business with thelocalauthority orfrom personswho mayapplytothe local authorityfor anypermission, licence orother significant advantage.10.2 I register withthe Monitoring Officer any gift or hospitalitywithanestimatedvalueof at least £50 within 28daysof itsreceipt.10.3 I register withthe Monitoring Officer anysignificant gift or hospitality that I have been offered but have refusedto accept.In order toprotect your positionand the reputation of thelocal authority, you shouldexercisecaution in accepting any giftsor hospitality which are (or whichyoureasonably believetobe) offeredtoyoubecauseyou area councillor. The presumption shouldalwaysbe nottoaccept significant gifts or hospitality. However,theremaybetimeswhensuch arefusal maybe difficult if it is seenas rudenessinwhich case youcouldaccept it but must ensureit ispubliclyregistered. However,you donot needtoregister gifts and hospitalitywhich are notrelated toyour role asacouncillor, such as Christmas gifts from your friendsandfamily. It isalso importanttonotethat it isappropriate toaccept normal expenses and hospitality associatedwith your dutiesas acouncillor. Ifyou areunsure, do contact your MonitoringOfficerfor guidance.
Page 9of 16Approved 3rd12.2020 Updated 19January and 17 May 2021AppendicesAppendix A –The Seven Principles of Public LifeThe principlesare: SelflessnessHolders of public office should actsolely in terms ofthe publicinterest. IntegrityHolders of public officemust avoid placing themselves under any obligation to peopleor organisationsthatmight try inappropriately toinfluencethem intheir work.They should not act ortake decisions inorder to gain financial or other materialbenefits for themselves, theirfamily, or theirfriends. Theymustdisclose and resolveanyinterestsand relationships. ObjectivityHolders of public officemust act andtakedecisionsimpartially, fairlyandonmerit,using the bestevidence andwithout discrimination or bias. AccountabilityHolders of public office are accountabletothepublic for their decisionsand actionsandmust submitthemselves to thescrutinynecessary toensurethis. OpennessHoldersofpublicofficeshouldactandtakedecisionsinanopenandtransparentmanner. Informationshouldnotbewithheldfromthepublicunlessthereareclear andlawfulreasonsfor sodoing. HonestyHolders of public officeshould betruthful. LeadershipHolders of public officeshould exhibit these principlesin their ownbehaviour. Theyshould activelypromote and robustly supportthe principlesand bewillingto challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.
Page 10of 16Approved 3rd12.2020 Updated 19January and 17 May 2021Appendix BRegistering interestsWithin 28 daysof becomingamember oryour re-electionor re-appointment toofficeyoumust registerwith theMonitoring Officer theinterests which fall within thecategories set outin Table 1(DisclosablePecuniary Interests) whichareasdescribed in“TheRelevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012”. Youshould also register details of your other personal interests whichfall within thecategories set out inTable2(OtherRegisterableInterests). “DisclosablePecuniary Interest” means aninterest of yourself, or of your partner if youareaware of your partner’sinterest, within the descriptions set out in Table1 below. “Partner”meansaspouse or civil partner, or aperson withwhom you areliving as husbandor wife, or apersonwith whom youareliving as if you are civil partners. 1.You must ensure thatyour register of interests iskept up-to-dateandwithin28 daysof becomingaware of any newinterest, or of anychange toaregistered interest, notify theMonitoring Officer. 2.A ‘sensitiveinterest’ is asan interest which, ifdisclosed, could lead to thecouncillor, or apersonconnected withthecouncillor, being subject toviolenceor intimidation. 3.Whereyouhavea‘sensitiveinterest’ youmust notifythe MonitoringOfficerwith thereasonswhy you believeit is asensitive interest. IftheMonitoringOfficer agreestheywillwithholdthe interest from thepublic register. Non participationincase of disclosablepecuniary interest 4.Whereamatter arises at a meetingwhich directly relates to one of yourDisclosable PecuniaryInterests asset out in Table 1, youmust disclosetheinterest, not participatein any discussion or vote on thematter andmust not remainin the room unless you havebeen granted adispensation. If it is a‘sensitive interest’, youdo not have to disclosethenatureofthe interest, just that you have aninterest. Dispensation maybe granted in limitedcircumstances, to enable you toparticipateand voteon amatter in which you havea disclosable pecuniary interest. 5.[Whereyouhavea disclosable pecuniary interest on amatter to beconsidered or is being considered byyouas a Cabinet member in exercise of your executive function, you must notifythe Monitoring Officer of the interest andmust not takeanystepsor further stepsin the matter apart from arranging for someoneelse to dealwith it ]Disclosureof OtherRegisterable Interests6.Whereamatter arisesat ameeting whichdirectly relatesto the financial interest or wellbeing of one ofyour Other RegisterableInterests (as set out in Table 2), youmustdisclosethe interest. You may speak onthe matter onlyif membersof thepublic are alsoallowedtospeak at themeetingbutotherwise must not takepart in any discussion or voteonthematter andmust not remain intheroom unlessyouhavebeengranted adispensation. Ifit is a ‘sensitive interest’, you donot haveto disclose thenatureof theinterest.