The Localism Act 2011 introduced a new regime for standards and dealing with complaints against Members. Every local authority is required to adopt a Code of Conduct that sets out rules governing the behaviour of its Councillors. All elected, co-opted and Independent Members of local authorities, including Parish Councils are covered by the Code.
The Code of Conduct sets out:
- Standards of behaviour including honesty, integrity, objectivity, openness and accountability
- When a Member must declare a pecuniary interest
- When they must withdraw from discussions, debates or votes
- When gifts and hospitality must be notified to the Monitoring Officer.
You can find the Council’s Code of Conduct in the downloads section. The council adopted LGA Model Code of Conduct with effect from May 2022.
The legislation contains specific rules governing Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPIs) that apply to both District and Parish Councillors. There is a requirement for Councillors to register their DPIs and for this information to be available on the District Council website for public inspection. Failure to register a DPI is a criminal offence. Councillors must not participate in any discussion or vote on any matter in which they are aware they have a DPI regardless of whether they are a Parish or District Councillor.
Parish Councils are required to adopt their own Codes and to make them available for inspection.
Independent Person for Standards
The Council has appointed an Independent Person under the Localism Act 2011 to assist the Standards Committee and the Monitoring Officer in dealing with Councillor conduct complaints. The views of the Independent Person have to be taken into account, and the Subject Member (Councillor to whom the complaint relates) may speak to the Independent Person at any time during the complaint process.
At their meeting held on 3rd March 2022, the appointment of Fred Mann as the designated Independent Person for Standards was approved for a 4 year term ending 20th April 2026.