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Code Of Conduct

(adopted May 2007)

Adoption of Replacement Code of Conduct for Members

1. Contact(s)

Mrs. Joyce Griffith, Parish Clerk.
Telephone: 01243 673588
E mail: eastwittering.brackleshampc@btopenworld.com

2. Recommendations

2.1 That pursuant to Section 51 of the Local Government Act 2000 the Council adopts the Code of Conduct for members and co-opted members set out in Appendix 2 to this report in place of the existing code with immediate effect; and

2.2 That the General Principles of Conduct be annexed to the replacement Code.

3. Main Report

3.1 In 2002 the Council adopted a Code of Conduct for Members based on a model code authorised by Parliament.

3.2 Over the last few years the Government and the Standards Board for England have been consulting local authorities on changes to the model code.

3.3 Parliament has recently issued a statutory instrument which sets out the final version of the new model code which came into effect on 3rd May 2007. A summary of the new code attached to the statutory instrument is set out in Appendix 1 to this report. The new code for the Parish Council is set out in full in Appendix 2.

3.4 The model code applies to all local authorities. The Parish Council is required to adopt almost all of the provisions of the new model code. However some parts refer to “executive committees”, “executive decisions”, “executive functions” and “overview and scrutiny committees” which are only relevant to county and district councils and other principal authorities, so they have been removed from the proposed code set out in Appendix 2. Certain provisions in the new model code refer to police authorities, the Metropolitan Police Authority, the Greater London Authority, housing functions and school meals and school transport. These have also been omitted from the proposed code.

3.5 Paragraph 7 of the new model code is not mandatory for Parish Councils to include in their adopted code, but it is recommended that this paragraph is included as it refers to advice given by the Chief Financial Officer of the Parish Council (i.e. the Parish Clerk), the District Council’s Monitoring Officer, and the legal obligation in some cases to give reasons for decisions.

3.6 Paragraph 12(2) of the new model code is not mandatory for Parish Councils to include in their adopted code but it gives members the opportunity to speak at meetings when they would otherwise be excluded, so paragraph 12(2) has been included in the code to be adopted by the Parish Council.

3.7 The Council has a legal duty to adopt the new code by 1st October 2007. After it has been adopted the Council is required to issue a public notice in a local newspaper, to make copies available for public inspection, and to inform the Standards Board. If the Council fails to adopt the code within the timescale the new model code will apply automatically from 1st October 2007.

3.8 The Standards Board strongly recommends that local authorities adopt the new model code without adding any extra provisions. The Board also suggests that the General Principles of Conduct for local authority members are annexed to the Code to remind Members and the public of the principles underlying the Code. The 10 General Principles of Conduct are set out as Annexe 1 to the new Code in Appendix 2, and they are used by the Standard Board’s Ethical Standards Officers and case tribunals to interpret the Code of Conduct. Paragraph 1(2) of the new model code also makes specific reference to the General Principles of Conduct.

3.9 The Standards Board has issued guidance on the new model code.

3.10 The main changes between the existing model code and the new model code are as follows:-

3.10.1 Parts of the Code apply to Members’ private lives only where their conduct in their private lives led to them being convicted of a criminal offence.

3.10.2 A Member must not

(a) cause the Council to breach its legal obligations relating to equalities; or

(b) bully any person; or

(c) intimidate any person involved in complaints made against Members that they have breached the Code.

3.10.3 A Member must

(a) have regard to the local authorities code on publicity;

(b) declare the following at a meeting if it relates to a matter being discussed:-

(i) the receipt as a Member in the last 3 years of a gift or hospitality worth at least £25; or
(ii) the interests of a member of his or her family or a close associate; or
(iii) the existence of a personal interest (but not its details) if it relates to “sensitive information” as defined in the Code; and

(c) put in the public register of interests the receipt as a Member of gifts and hospitality worth at least £25.

3.10.4 A Member may

(a) disclose confidential information if it is reasonable and in the public interest to do so;

(b) if he or she has a prejudicial interest, present his or her views at a meeting in the same way as a member of the public may do, but then leave the meeting; and

(c) exclude “sensitive information” from the public register of interests.

3.10.5 A Member is no longer under a duty to report other Members to the Standards Board for apparent breaches of the Code.

APPENDIX 1

EAST WITTERING AND BRACKLESHAM PARISH COUNCIL

SUMMARY OF THE NEW CODE OF CONDUCT INCLUDED WITH THE STATUTORY INSTRUMENT NO. 1159 MADE 2ND APRIL 2007.

Paragraph 1 of the Code provides that the Code applies to any member of an authority and that it is the responsibility of each member to comply with the Code.

Paragraph 2 of the Code provides that the Code applies whenever a member is acting in his or her official capacity, and in relation to conduct in a member’s private capacity the code only applies where such conduct has resulted in a criminal conviction. Additionally, where a member is acting as a representative of his or her authority, he or she must continue to observe the authority’s code, unless he or she is subject to another relevant authority’s code, or unless (in relation to any other body) it conflicts with any other legal obligations.

Paragraph 3 of the Code provides that members must treat others with respect and not do anything which may cause their authority to breach equality legislation, or which compromises the impartiality of those who work for the authority or bully anyone or intimidate persons involved in code of conduct cases.

Paragraph 4 of the Code provides that members must not without consent disclose confidential information they have acquired and must not prevent others from gaining access to information to which they are entitled.

Paragraph 5 of the Code provides that a member must not conduct himself or herself in a manner which could bring his or her authority into disrepute.

Paragraph 6 of the Code provides that a member must not use his or her position improperly to gain an advantage or confer a disadvantage and that when using or authorising the use of the authority’s resources, he or she must act in accordance with the authority’s reasonable requirements, must not permit those resources to be used for political purposes and must have regard to the Local Authority Code of Publicity.

Paragraph 7 of the Code provides that a member must have regard to advice given by the chief finance officer and monitoring officer and must give reasons for decisions made.

Paragraph 8 of the Code provides a list of matters which constitute a personal interest.

Paragraph 9 of the Code provides that generally a member with a personal interest in any business of his or her authority must disclose that interest at any meeting at which the business is considered.

Paragraph 10 of the Code provides that generally a member with a personal interest also has a prejudicial interest if the interest could be regarded by a member of the public as so significant that it is likely to prejudice his or her judgement of the public interest. The paragraph provides that in specified circumstances a member may regard himself as not having a prejudicial interest.

Paragraph 11 of the Code provides that a member who was involved in making a decision or taking action on a matter must not be involved in the overview and scrutiny committee’s consideration of that decision or action.

Paragraph 12 of the Code provides that a member with a prejudicial interest must, unless, for example, he or she is making representations and members of the public are also allowed to make representations on that matter, or he or she has obtained a dispensation, withdraw from any meetings at which the business is being considered, and must not improperly influence decisions in relation to the business.

Paragraph 13 of the Code provides that a member must notify the monitoring officer of his or her personal interests and any change to those interests must also be notified.

Paragraph 14 of the Code provides that a member may notify the monitoring officer of any sensitive information the availability of which to the public creates, or is likely to create, a serious risk that the member or a person who lives with him or her may be subjected to violence or intimidation.

APPENDIX 2

EAST WITTERING AND BRACKLESHAM PARISH COUNCIL

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEMBERS AND CO-OPTED MEMBERS

WITH EFFECT FROM 10 MAY 2007

Part 1
General Provisions

Introduction and interpretation

1. (1) This Code applies to you as a member of an authority.

(2) You should read this Code together with the general principles prescribed by the Secretary of State. (The general principles are attached to this Code as Annexe 1)

(3) It is your responsibility to comply with the provisions of this Code.

(4) In this Code

“meeting” means any meeting of

(a) the authority;

(b) any of the authority’s committees, sub-committees, joint committees, joint sub-committees;

“member” includes a co-opted member and an appointed member.

(5) In relation to a parish council, references to an authority’s monitoring officer and an authority’s standards committee shall be read,
respectively, as references to the monitoring officer and the standards
committee of the district council or unitary county council which has
functions in relation to the parish council for which it is responsible
under section 55(12) of the Local Government Act 2000
(i.e. Chichester District Council).

Scope

2. (1) Subject to sub-paragraphs (2) to (5), you must comply with this Code whenever you
(a) conduct the business of your authority (which, in this Code, includes the business of the office to which you are elected or appointed); or

(b) act, claim to act or give the impression you are acting as a representative of your authority, and references to your official capacity are construed accordingly.

(2) Subject to sub-paragraphs (3) and (4), this Code does not have effect in relation to your conduct other than where it is in your official capacity.

(3) In addition to having effect in relation to conduct in your official capacity, paragraphs 3(2)(c), 5 and 6(a) also have effect, at any other time, where that conduct constitutes a criminal offence for which you have been convicted.

(4) Conduct to which this Code applies (whether that is conduct in your official capacity or conduct mentioned in sub-paragraph (3)) includes a criminal offence for which you are convicted (including an offence you committed before the date you took office, but for which you are convicted after that date).

(5) Where you act as a representative of your authority

(a) on another relevant authority, you must, when acting for that other authority, comply with that other authority’s code of conduct; or

(b) on any other body, you must, when acting for that other body, comply with your authority’s code of conduct, except and insofar as it conflicts with any other lawful obligations to which that other body may be subject.

General obligations

3. (1) You must treat others with respect.

(2) You must not

(a) do anything which may cause your authority to breach any of the equality enactments (as defined in section 33 of the Equality Act 2006);

(b) bully any person;

(c) intimidate or attempt to intimidate any person who is or is likely to be—

(i) a complainant,

(ii) a witness, or

(iii) involved in the administration of any investigation or proceedings,

in relation to an allegation that a member (including yourself) has failed to comply with his or her authority’s code of conduct; or

(d) do anything which compromises or is likely to compromise the impartiality of those who work for, or on behalf of, your authority.

4. You must not

(a) 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

(i) you have the consent of a person authorised to give it;

(ii) you are required by law to do so;

(iii) the disclosure is made to a third party for the purpose of obtaining professional advice provided that the third party agrees not to disclose the information to any other person; or

(iv) the disclosure is

(aa) reasonable and in the public interest; and

(bb) made in good faith and in compliance with the reasonable requirements of the authority; or

(b) prevent another person from gaining access to information to which that person is entitled by law.

5. You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute.

6. You
(a) must not use or attempt to use your position as a member improperly to confer on or secure for yourself or any other person, an advantage or disadvantage; and

(b) must, when using or authorising the use by others of the resources of your authority

(i) act in accordance with your authority’s reasonable requirements;

(ii) ensure that such resources are not used improperly for political purposes (including party political purposes); and

(c) must have regard to any applicable Local Authority Code of Publicity made under the Local Government Act 1986.

7. (1) When reaching decisions on any matter you must have regard to any relevant advice provided to you by—

(a) your authority’s chief finance officer; or

(b) your authority’s monitoring officer,

where that officer is acting pursuant to his or her statutory duties.

(2) You must give reasons for all decisions in accordance with any statutory requirements and any reasonable additional requirements imposed by your authority.

Part 2
Interests

Personal interests

8. (1) You have a personal interest in any business of your authority where either

(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 your authority;

(ii) any body

(aa) exercising functions of a public nature;

(bb) directed to 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;

(iii) any employment or business carried on by you;

(iv) any person or body who employs or has appointed you;

(v) any person or body, other than a relevant authority, who has made a payment to you in respect of your election or any expenses incurred by you in carrying out your duties;

(vi) any person or body who has a place of business or land in your authority’s area, and in whom you have a beneficial interest in a class of securities of that person or body that exceeds the nominal value of £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital (whichever is the lower);

(vii) any contract for goods, services or works made between your authority 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 specified in paragraph (vi);

(viii) the interests of any person from whom you have received a gift or hospitality with an estimated value of at least £25;

(ix) any land in your authority’s area in which you have a beneficial interest;

(x) any land where the landlord is your authority and you are, 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 specified in paragraph (vi) is, the tenant;

(xi) any land in the authority’s area for which you have a licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy for 28 days or longer; or

(b) a decision in relation to that business 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

(i) (in the case of authorities with electoral divisions or wards)
other council tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of the
electoral division or ward, as the case may be, affected
by the decision; or

(ii) (in all other cases) other council tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of your authority’s area.

(2) In sub-paragraph (1)(b),a relevant person is

(a) a member of your family or any person with whom you have a close association; or

(b) any person or body who employs or has appointed such persons, any firm in which they are a partner, or any company of which they are directors;

(c) any person or body in whom such persons have a beneficial interest in a class of securities exceeding the nominal value of £25,000; or

(d) any body of a type described in sub-paragraph (1)(a)(i) or (ii).

Disclosure of personal interests

9. (1) Subject to sub-paragraphs (2) to (7), where you have a personal interest in any business of your authority and you attend a meeting of your authority at which the business is considered, you must disclose to that meeting the existence and nature of that interest at the commencement of that consideration, or when the interest becomes apparent.

(2) Where you have a personal interest in any business of your authority which relates to or is likely to affect a person described in paragraph 8(1)(a)(i) or 8(1)(a)(ii)(aa), you need only disclose to the meeting the existence and nature of that interest when you address the meeting on that business.

(3) Where you have a personal interest in any business of the authority of the type mentioned in paragraph 8(1)(a)(viii), you need not disclose the nature or existence of that interest to the meeting if the interest was registered more than three years before the date of the meeting.

(4) Sub-paragraph (1) only applies where you are aware or ought reasonably to be aware of the existence of the personal interest.

(5) Where you have a personal interest but, by virtue of paragraph 14, sensitive information relating to it is not registered in your authority’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.

Prejudicial interest generally

10. (1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2), where you have a personal interest in any business of your authority 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.

(2) You do not have a prejudicial interest in any business of the authority where that business

(a) does not affect your financial position or the financial position of a person or body described in paragraph 8;

(b) does not relate to the determining of any approval, consent, licence, permission or registration in relation to you or any person or body described in paragraph 8; or

(c) relates to the functions of your authority 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.

Prejudicial interests arising in relation to overview and scrutiny committees

11. (Not applicable to the parish council)

Effect of prejudicial interests on participation

12. (1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2), where you have a prejudicial interest in any business of your authority

(a) you must withdraw from the room or chamber where a meeting considering the business is being held

(i) in a case where sub-paragraph (2) applies, immediately after making representations, answering questions or giving evidence;

(ii) in any other case, whenever it becomes apparent that the business is being considered at that meeting;

unless you have obtained a dispensation from your authority’s standards committee; and

(b) you must not seek improperly to influence a decision about that business.

(2) Where you have a prejudicial interest in any business of your authority, 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.

Part 3
Registration of Members’ Interests

Registration of members’ interests

13. (1) Subject to paragraph 14, you must, within 28 days of

(a) this Code being adopted by or applied to your authority; or

(b) your election or appointment to office (where that is later),

register in your authority’s register of members’ interests (maintained under section 81(1) of the Local Government Act 2000) details of your personal interests where they fall within a category mentioned in paragraph 8(1)(a), by providing written notification to your authority’s monitoring officer.

(2) Subject to paragraph 14, you must, within 28 days of becoming aware of any new personal interest or change to any personal interest registered under paragraph (1), register details of that new personal interest or change by providing written notification to your authority’s monitoring officer.

Sensitive information

14. (1) Where you consider that the information relating to any of your personal interests is sensitive information, and your authority’s monitoring officer agrees, you need not include that information when registering that interest, or, as the case may be, a change to that interest under paragraph 13.

(2) You must, within 28 days of becoming aware of any change of circumstances which means that information excluded under paragraph (1) is no longer sensitive information, notify your authority’s monitoring officer asking that the information be included in your authority’s register of members’ interests.

(3) In this Code, “sensitive information” means information whose availability for inspection by the public creates, or is likely to create, a serious risk that you or a person who lives with you may be subjected to violence or intimidation.

THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES Annexe 1

Selflessness
1. Members should serve only the public interest and should never improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person.
Honesty and Integrity
2. Members should not place themselves in situations where their honesty and integrity may be questioned, should not behave improperly and should on all occasions avoid the appearance of such behaviour.
Objectivity
3. Members should make decisions on merit, including when making appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits.
Accountability
4. Members should be accountable to the public for their actions and the manner in which they carry out their responsibilities, and should co-operate fully and honestly with any scrutiny appropriate to their particular office.
Openness
5. Members should be as open as possible about their actions and those of their authority, and should be prepared to give reasons for those actions.
Personal Judgement
6. Members may take account of the views of others, including their political groups, but should reach their own conclusions on the issues before them and act in accordance with those conclusions.
Respect for Others
7. Members should promote equality by not discriminating unlawfully against any person, and by treating people with respect, regardless of their race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. They should respect the impartiality and integrity of the authority’s statutory officers, and its other employees.
Duty to Uphold the Law
8. Members should uphold the law and, on all occasions, act in accordance with the trust that the public is entitled to place in them.
Stewardship
9. Members should do whatever they are able to do to ensure that their authorities use their resources prudently and in accordance with the law.
Leadership
10. Members should promote and support these principles by leadership, and by example, and should act in a way that secures or preserves public confidence.