Code of Conduct for Councillors
Adopted at Council meeting 11 July 2012
1. Application of the Code
This Code of Conduct applies to you whenever you are acting in your capacity as a member or co-opted member (referred to in this Code as “Councillors”) of the Highwood Parish Council including-
1.1 At formal meetings of the Council, its Committees and Sub-Committees, and other meetings at which business of the Council is discussed.
1.2 When acting as a representative of the Council.
1.3 In discharging your functions as a Councillor.
1.4 At briefing meetings with officers.
1.5 At site visits or other visits to do with the business of the Council.
1.6 When corresponding with the Council other than in a private capacity.
2. General Conduct
2.1 Provide leadership to the Council and communities within its area, by personal example.
2.2 Respect others and not bully any person.
2.3 Recognise that officers (other than political assistants) are employed by and serve the whole Council.
2.4 Respect the confidentiality of information which you receive as a Councillor by-
2.4.1 Not disclosing confidential information to third parties unless required by law and only then after receiving confirmation from the Monitoring Officer to do so ; and
2.4.2 Not obstructing third parties’ legal rights of access to information.
2.5 Not conduct yourself in a manner which is likely to bring the Council into disrepute.
2.6 Use your position as a Councillor in the public interest and not for personal advantage.
2.7 Accord with the Council’s reasonable rules on the use of public resources for private and political purposes.
2.8 Exercise your own independent judgement, taking decisions for good and substantial reasons by-
2.8.1 Attaching appropriate weight to all relevant considerations including, where appropriate, public opinion and the views of political groups.
2.8.2 Paying due regard to the advice of officers, and in particular the Monitoring Officer, Clerk of the Council and Responsible Financial Officer.
2.8.3 Stating the reasons for your decisions where those reasons are not otherwise apparent.
2.9 In your decisions and actions apply the principles of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership and, as far as reasonably possible, assist the Council to act within the law.
3. Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
3.1 Comply with the statutory requirements to register, disclose and withdraw from participating in respect of any matters in which you have a disclosable pecuniary interest (see Annex 1), and specifically,
3.1.1 Ensure that your entries in the register of interests are kept up to date and notify the Monitoring Officer in writing, via the Council’s Clerk, within 28 days of becoming aware of any change in respect of your disclosable pecuniary interests.
3.1.2 Make verbal declarations of the existence and nature of any disclosable pecuniary interest at any meeting at which you are present where an item of business affecting or relating to the subject matter of that interest is under consideration, at or before the consideration of the item of business or as soon as that interest becomes apparent.
3.1.3 Withdraw from any meeting at which you have a disclosable pecuniary interest during the entire consideration of that item, unless a dispensation has been granted.
3.2 “Meeting” means any meeting organised by or on behalf of the Council and in particular in the circumstances as set out in paragraph 1 of this Code.
4. Other Interests
4.1 In addition to Paragraph 3, if you attend a meeting and there is an item of business to be considered in which you are aware you have a non-disclosable pecuniary interest or non pecuniary interest, you must make a verbal declaration of the existence and nature of that interest at or before the consideration of the item of business or as soon as that interest becomes apparent.
4.2 You have a non-disclosable pecuniary interest or non pecuniary interest in an item of business of your Council where-
4.2.1 A decision in relation to that business might reasonably be regarded as affecting the well-being or financial standing of you or a member of your family or a person with whom you have a close association to a greater extent than it would affect the majority of the Council Tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of the ward or electoral area for which you have been elected or otherwise of the Council’s administrative area;
4.2.2 It relates to an interest concerning either of the following-
18.104.22.168 Any person or body who employs or has appointed you;
22.214.171.124 Any contract for goods, services or works made between Highwood Parish Council and you or a firm in which you are a partner, a company of which you are a remunerated director, or a person or body of the description that would create a disclosable pecuniary interest but only where it has been fully discharged within the last 12 months.
5. Gifts and Hospitality
5.1 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 £50, which you have accepted as a Councillor from any person or body other than the Council, including the name of the donor.
5.2 The Monitoring Officer will place your notification on a public register of gifts and hospitality.
5.3 The duty to notify the Monitoring Officer does not apply to a gift, benefit or hospitality that comes within any description approved by the Council for this purpose.
Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012
The Regulations are made under s.30 (3) of the Localism Act 2011.
S.30 (3) of the 2011 Act confirms that disclosable pecuniary interests relate to certain interests of a member or co-opted member or the interests of his/her spouse or civil partner or the person with whom he/she lives as if they were spouses or civil partners.
The Schedule to the 2012 Regulations sets out the prescribed disclosable pecuniary interests for the purpose of the 2011 Act and this is contained in the table below.
References to members and members of authorities in the table refer to members and co-opted members of parish councils.
Employment, office, trade, profession or vocation
Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.
Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the Council) made to the member during the relevant period for expenses incurred by him/her in carrying out his/her duties as a member, or towards his/her election expenses.
“Relevant period” means the period of 12 months ending with the day on which the member of an authority gives a notification to the monitoring officer for the purposes of section 30(1) of the 2011 Act.
This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
Any contract made between the member or his/her spouse or civil partner or the person with whom the member is living as if they were spouses/civil partners (or a firm in which such person is a partner, or an incorporated body of which such person is a director* or a body that such person has a beneficial interest in the securities of*) and the Council —
(a) under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and
(b) which has not been fully discharged.
Any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the Council.
‘Land’ excludes an easement, servitude, interest or right in or over land which does not give the member or his/her spouse or civil partner or the person with whom the member is living as if they were spouses/civil partners (alone or jointly with another) a right to occupy or to receive income.
Any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the Council for a month or longer.
Any tenancy where (to the member’s knowledge)—
(a) the landlord is the Council; and
(b) the tenant is a body that the member, or his/her spouse or civil partner or the person with whom the member is living as if they were spouses/civil partners is a partner of or a director* of or has a beneficial interest in the securities* of.
Any beneficial interest in securities* of a body where—
(a) that body (to the member’s knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the Council; and
(i) the total nominal value of the securities* exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or
(ii) if the share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the member, or his/her spouse or civil partner or the person with whom the member is living as if they were spouses/civil partners has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.