KING’S SOMBORNE PARISH COUNCIL
COUNCILLORS’ CODE OF CONDUCT
- The King’s Somborne Parish Council Councillors’ code of conduct hereinafter “The Code” applies to any a member of King’s Somborne Parish Council (“The Council”) when acting in his/her role as a Councillor, Clerk, Co-Optee or any other appointment for or on behalf of The Council (“Council Members”)
- The Code is adopted pursuant to The Council’s statutory duty to promote and maintain high standards of conduct by Council Members and complies with the requirements of Section 28 of the Localism Act 2011; the key principles of which are shown in clause 1.4 below.
- The Code is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all of the legal and constitutional obligations placed on Council Members. It is the individual’s responsibility to comply with the following provisions of The Code as well as other legal obligations beyond the scope of The Code.
- The Code is based on and consistent with the following principles:
Council Members should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits.
Council Members should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to individuals or organisations outside of The Council that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
In carrying out their public duties, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits as the case may be, Council Members should make choices solely on merit.
Council Members are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public.
Council Members should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
Council Members have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties
and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Council Members should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.
- General Obligations of Council Members
- When acting in your role as a Council Member:
- Do treat others with respect;
- Do ensure that you are aware of and comply with the requirements which the Bribery Act 2010 places on you as a Council Member and on The Council as a whole;
- Do not do anything which may cause your authority to breach any of the equality enactments (as defined in Section 33 of the Equality Act 2006(a));
- Do not bully any person (bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious, insulting or humiliating behaviour that is directed at someone over whom you have some actual or potential influence);
- Do not intimidate or try to intimidate, anyone who has complained about you or who may be involved with a complaint about you;
- Do not do anything which compromises or is likely to compromise the impartiality of those who work for, or on behalf of, The Council;
- Do 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 (“Confidential Information”) except where:
- you have the consent of the discloser of the Confidential Information to give it; or
- the Confidential Information is in the public domain at the time of disclosure or which later enters the public domain through no fault of Council Members; or
- When acting in your role as a Council Member:
- it is already in possession of Council Members at the time of disclosure as evidenced by written records; or
- it becomes available to a Council Member from a third party who has a lawful right to disclose it to you and in respect thereof is under no obligation of confidentiality; or
- you are required to disclose by, or in response to, a subpoena, interrogatory or order issued by any administrative agency, government body or court; or
- 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 and that the originator of the Confidential Information likewise agrees; or
- the disclosure (following legal advice) is deemed reasonable and in the public interest; and the disclosure of the Confidential Information is made in good faith and in compliance with the reasonable requirements of The Council;
- Do not prevent another person from gaining access to Confidential Information to which that person is entitled by law or court order; and
- Do not use or try to use your position improperly to obtain an advantage or disadvantage for yourself or any other person or body.
- When making decisions on behalf of or as part of The Council:
- Do have regard to any relevant advice provided to you by the Clerk of The Council where such advice is offered pursuant to his/ her statutory duties; and
- Do give reasons for the decisions in accordance with any statutory requirements and any reasonable additional requirements imposed by The Council.
- When using or authorising the use by others of the resources of The Council:
- Do act in accordance with The Council’s reasonable requirements;
- Do make sure that such resources are not used improperly for political purposes (including party political purposes); and
- Do have regard to any applicable Local Authority Code of Publicity made under the Local Government Act 1986.
- Do not improperly use knowledge gained solely as a result of your role as a Council Member for the advancement of your personal financial interests.
- Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
“Disclosable Pecuniary Interests” are defined in ‘The Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012’ (“the Regulations”) and details are set out in the Schedule I of The Code.
- Code of Conduct Interests
“Code of Conduct Interests” are pecuniary interests of the nature set out in the Schedule I to The Code that affect you (but not being a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest) or relate to or affect a relevant person as defined in the Regulations, a member of your family or a close friend.
- Sensitive Interests
These are interests where you consider that disclosure of the details of a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or a Code of Conduct Interest could lead to you, or a person connected with you, being subject to violence or intimidation, and the Monitoring Officer agrees. If the interest is entered on the register, copies of the register that are made available for inspection and any published version of the register will exclude details of the interest, but may state that you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, the details of which are withheld under Section 32(2) of the Localism Act 2012.
- Registration of Interests
You must, within twenty eight (28) days of:
- The Code being adopted; or
- your acceptance of office as a Council Member; or
- disclosure of a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest not on the Council’s Register of Interests; or
- the subject of a pending registration;
notify the Monitoring Officer of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest where the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is yours or is the pecuniary interest of your spouse or civil partner, or somebody with whom you are living as husband or wife or as if you are civil partners.
- Disclosure of Interests
If you are present at a meeting of The Council, or any committee or sub-committee, joint committee or joint sub-committee of The Council and you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or a Code of Conduct Interest in any matter to be considered or being considered at the meeting you:
- must disclose the existence and nature of that interest to the meeting.
- may not participate in any discussion or vote taken on the matter at the meeting.
- must leave the room where the meeting is held before any discussion or voting takes place.
- must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within twenty eight (28) days if it is a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest and is not registered or is not the subject of a pending registration.
- must not make a statement on the matter in which you have an interest if the interest is a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest before leaving the room.
- may make a statement on the matter in which you have an interest before leaving the room if the interest is a Code of Conduct Interest
It is a criminal offence to:
- fail to notify the Monitoring Officer of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest within twenty eight (28) days of election.
- fail to disclose a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest at a meeting if it is not on the register
- fail to notify the Monitoring Officer within twenty eight (28) days of a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest that is not on the register that you have disclosed to a meeting.
- participate in any discussion or vote on a matter in which you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest
- as an executive member discharging a function acting alone, and having a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in such a matter, failing to notify the Monitoring Officer within twenty eight (28) days of the interest.
- knowingly or recklessly providing information that is false or misleading in notifying the Monitoring Officer of a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or in disclosing such interest to a meeting.
The criminal penalties available to a court are currently to impose a fine and disqualification from being a councillor for up to 5 years.