Breckland Council Code of Conduct

1.   Expected behaviours

1.1   Breckland Council have adopted this Code setting out the expected behaviours required of its members or co-opted members, acknowledging that they each have a responsibility to represent the community and work constructively with our staff and partner organisations to secure better social, economic and environmental outcomes for all.

1.2   In accordance with the Localism Act provisions, when acting in this capacity all Councillors must be committed to behaving in a manner that is consistent with the following principles to achieve best value for our residents and maintain public confidence in this Authority.

SELFLESSNESS: Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

INTEGRITY: Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.

OBJECTIVITY: In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

ACCOUNTABILITY: Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

OPENNESS: Holders of public office 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.

HONESTY: Holders of public office 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.

LEADERSHIP: Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

1.3   As a Member of Breckland Council, your conduct will in particular address the statutory principles of the code of conduct by:

I.    Championing the needs of residents - the whole community and in a special way your constituents, including those who did not vote for you- and putting their interests first.

II.     Dealing with representations or enquiries from residents, members of our communities and visitors fairly, appropriately and impartially.

III.    Not allowing other pressures, including the financial interests of yourself or others connected to you, to deter you from pursuing constituents' casework, the interests of the Breckland area or the good governance of the Authority in a proper manner.

IV.    Exercising independent judgement and not compromising your position by placing yourself under obligations to outside individuals or organisations who might seek to influence the way you perform your duties as a member/co-opted member of this Authority.

V.    Listening to the interests of all parties, including relevant advice from statutory and other professional officers, taking all relevant information into consideration, remaining objective and making decisions on merit.

VI.    Being accountable for your decisions and co-operating when scrutinised internally and externally, including by local residents.

VII.    Contributing to making this Authority's decision-making processes as open and transparent as possible to enable residents to understand the reasoning behind those decisions and to be informed when holding you and other members to account but restricting access to information when the wider public interest or the law requires it

VIII.    Behaving in accordance with all your legal obligations, alongside any requirements contained within this Authority's policies, protocols and procedures, including on the use of the Authority's resources.

IX.    Valuing your colleagues and staff and engaging with them in an appropriate manner and one that underpins the mutual respect between you that is essential to good local government.

X.    Always treating people with respect, including the organisations and public you engage with and those you work alongside.

XI.    Providing leadership through behaving in accordance with these principles when championing the interests of the community with other organisations as well as within this Authority.

2.   Declaration of Interests

2.1   The Localism Act 2011 provides for registration and disclosure of interests and in Breckland Council this will be done as follows:

  • On taking up office a member or co-opted member must, within 28 days of becoming such, notify the Monitoring Officer of any 'disclosable pecuniary interests', as prescribed by the Secretary of State.
  • On re-election or re-appointments, a member or co-opted member must, within 28 days, notify the Monitoring Officer of any 'disclosable pecuniary interests not already included in his or her register of interests.
  • If a member or co-opted member is aware that they have a 'disclosable pecuniary interest' in a matter they must not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter at a meeting.
  •  If a member or co-opted member is aware of a 'disclosable pecuniary interest' in a matter under consideration at a meeting but such interest is not already on the Council's register of interests or in the process of entry onto the register having been notified to the Monitoring Officer, the member or co-opted member must disclose the 'disclosable pecuniary interest' to the meeting and register it within 28 days of the meeting at which it is first disclosed.

2.2   Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set our in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011. Members are also required to withdraw from the room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.

Disclosable pecuniary interests are defined in the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Personal Interests) Regulations 2012 No.1464 as follows:

Subject

Prescribed description

Employment, office, trade, profession or vacation

Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

Sponsorship

Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the relevant authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by the member in carrying out duties as a member, or towards the election expenses of the member.

This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992(1).

Contracts

Any contract which is made between the relevant person (or a

body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest) and the relevant authority—

(a)    under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and

(b)   which has not been fully discharged.

LandAny beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the relevant authority.
LicencesAny licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the relevant authority for a month or longer.

Corporate tenancies

Any tenancy where (to the member's knowledge)—

(a)   the landlord is the relevant authority; and

(b)     the tenant is a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest.

Securities

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 relevant authority; and

(b)   either—

(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 relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

2.3   Gifts and Hospitality

2.3.1  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 £100 which you have accepted or have been offered as a member from any person or body other than the Authority.

2.3.2  The Monitoring Officer will place your notification on a public register of gifts and hospitality.

2.3.3  This duty to notify the Monitoring Officer does not apply where the gift, benefit or hospitality comes within any description approved by the Authority for this purpose

Last updated 16 March 2018

Last updated: 24/08/2021 17:27:33