Code of Conduct

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MONKSILVER PARISH COUNCIL
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEMBERS AND CO-OPTED MEMBERS
INTRODUCTION AND INTERPRETATION
As a member and representative of this Council it is your responsibility to comply with this
Code when you undertake or claim to be undertaking Council business or give the
impression that you are undertaking Council business.
As a representative of this Council your actions impact on how the Council as a whole is
viewed by the public. It is important, therefore, that you do not do anything when
undertaking Council business which you could not justify to the public. It is not enough to
avoid actual impropriety, you should at all times avoid any occasion for suspicion or
appearance of improper conduct.
This Code is based upon the seven principles of public life which are set out at Appendix
A1. You shall have regard to those principles when fulfilling your role.
An explanation of the terms used in this Code can be found in Appendix A2.
1. GENERAL OBLIGATIONS
When undertaking Council business you must:
1.1 treat others with respect;
1.2 not use or attempt to use your position as a member improperly to give yourself or
any other person, an advantage or disadvantage;
1.3 when reaching decisions on any matter, consider any relevant advice provided to
you by—
(a) the Council’s Chief Finance Officer (Section 151 Officer)
(b) the Council’s Monitoring Officer
in accordance with his or her statutory duties;
1.4 give reasons for decisions in accordance with any statutory requirements and the
Constitution of the Council;
1.5 act in accordance with the Council’s Constitution and the policies contained within it
and any other relevant Council policies;
1.6 not use Council’s resources improperly (including for political purposes);
1.7 avoid doing anything which may cause the Council to breach a statutory duty or any
of the equality enactments (as defined in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010);
1.8 not bully any person;
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1.9 not intimidate or attempt to intimidate any person who is or is likely to be—
(a) a complainant,
(b) a witness,
(c) involved in the administration of any investigation or proceedings, or
(d) any other person carrying out the functions of the Council,
in relation to an allegation that a member (including yourself) has failed to comply
with the Council’s code of conduct;
1.10 avoid doing anything which compromises or is likely to compromise the impartiality
of those who work for, or on behalf of, the Council;
1.11 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, except where—
(a) you have the consent of a person authorised to give it;
(b) you are required by law to do so;
(c) 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; or
(d) the disclosure is—
i. reasonable and in the public interest; and
ii. made in good faith and in compliance with the reasonable requirements of
the Council; and
(e) you have consulted the Monitoring Officer prior to its release;
1.12 not prevent another person from gaining access to information to which that person
is entitled by law; and
1.13 not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing
your office or the Council into disrepute.
2. INTERESTS
Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
2.1 You must register and declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests that relate to
your public duties as required by this Code, and set out in Appendix A3.
2.2 You must, within 28 days of this Code being adopted by the Council or your taking
office as a member or co-opted member, register any Disclosable Pecuniary
Interests with the Council’s Monitoring Officer, where the Disclosable Pecuniary
Interest is yours, your spouse’s or civil partner’s, or is the Disclosable Pecuniary
Interest of somebody with whom you are living with as a husband or wife, or as if
you were civil partners. Disclosable Pecuniary Interests will be recorded in the
Council’s Register of Members’ Interests and made available for public inspection
including on the Council’s website at: www.somerset.gov.uk.
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2.3 Within 28 days of becoming aware of any new Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or
change to any such interest already registered, you must register details of that new
interest or change in writing to the Council’s monitoring officer.
2.4 Where any business of the Council, relates to or affects a Disclosable Pecuniary
Interest whether registered under 2.2 or 2.3 above or not, and you attend any
meeting of the Council, its Cabinet/Executive or any Committee, Sub-Committee,
Joint Committee at which that business is to be considered, you must:
(a) not seek to influence a decision about that business
(b) disclose to that meeting the existence and nature of that interest no later
than the start of the consideration of the business in which you have that
interest, or (if later) the time at which the interest becomes apparent to you.
The exception to the requirement to disclose an interest is if the matter is a
sensitive interest under paragraph 2.10
(c) withdraw from the meeting room or chamber as soon as it becomes apparent
that the business is being considered at that meeting; unless you have
obtained a dispensation from the Council’s Monitoring Officer or the
Standards Committee.

2.5 Following any disclosure at a meeting or as part of a decision record, of a
Disclosable Pecuniary Interest not on the Council’s register or the subject of
pending notification, you must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28
days beginning with the date of the disclosure at the meeting or in the decision
record in order for the interest to be included in the register.
2.6 Unless dispensation has been granted, you may not participate in any discussion
of, vote on, or discharge any function related to any matter in which you have a
Disclosable Pecuniary Interest. Additionally you must observe the restrictions the
Council places on your involvement in matters where you have a Disclosable
Pecuniary Interest as defined by the Council and set out in this Code.
Other Interests
Note: It is conceivable that an interest could be categorised as both a Disclosable
Pecuniary Interest and a personal or a personal and prejudicial interest. If so you must
treat it as a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest and comply with the requirements set out in
paragraphs 2.1 – 2.6 inclusive.
2.7 (1) In addition to the Disclosable Pecuniary Interests notifiable under the Localism
Act 2011, you must, within 28 days of—
(a) this Code being adopted by or applied to the Council; or
(b) your election or appointment to office (where that is later),
give written notification to the Monitoring Officer of the details of your other personal
interests, as defined in 2.8(1)(a)(i) and (ii) below, for inclusion in the register of
interests. The exception to this requirement is if the detail of the personal or
prejudicial interest is classified as sensitive – see paragraph 2.10.
(2) You must, within 28 days of becoming aware of any new personal interest or
change to any such registered interest, notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of
that new interest or change.
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Personal Interests
2.8 (1) You have a personal interest in any business of the Council where:
(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 the Council;
(ii) any body—
(aa) exercising functions of a public nature;
(bb) established for 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;
(b) where a decision in relation to any business of the Council might reasonably be
regarded as affecting your well-being or financial position or the well-being or
financial position of a significant person to a greater extent than the majority of other
council tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of the electoral division, as the case
may be, affected by the decision;
(2) Subject to sub-paragraphs (3) to (5) below, where you are aware of a personal
interest described in paragraph (1) above in any business of the Council, and you
attend a meeting of the Council at which the business is considered, you must
disclose to that meeting the existence and nature of that interest at the start of the
consideration of that business, or when the interest becomes apparent to you.
(3) Where you have a personal interest in any business of the Council which relates
to or is likely to affect you or a significant person, or a body described in paragraph
2.8(1)(a)(ii), you need only disclose to the meeting the existence and nature of that
interest if and when you address the meeting on that business.
(4) Where you have a personal interest but the interest is not detailed in the
Council’s register of members’ interests because of the sensitive nature of the
interest, you must indicate to the meeting that you have a personal interest, but
need not disclose the sensitive information to the meeting.
(5) Where you have a personal interest in any business of the Council and you have
made an individual decision (as a Cabinet/Executive member) in relation to that
business, you must ensure that any written statement of that decision records the
existence and nature of that interest subject to (4) above.
(6) Any personal interests notified to the Monitoring Officer will be included in the
register of interests.
(7) A copy of the register will be available for public inspection and will be published
on the Council’s website.
Note: Members may opt out of having personal interests published on the Council’s
website, whereas the Council is required to publish disclosable pecuniary interests
registered by members on the website.
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Prejudicial Interests
2.9 (1) Where you have a personal interest in any business of your Council 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 and
where that business—
(a) affects your financial position or the financial position of a significant person or a
body described in paragraph 2.8(1)(a)(ii) (other than another town, parish, or district
council of which you are also a member).
(b) relates to determining any approval, consent, licence, permission or
registration in relation to you or any significant person or a body described in
paragraph 2.8(1)(a)(ii) (other than another town, parish, or district council of which
you are also a member).
(2) Subject to paragraph (3) and (4), where you have a prejudicial interest in any
business of your Council—
(a) You may not participate in any discussion of the matter at a meeting.
(b) You may not participate in any vote taken on the matter at a meeting.
(c) You must disclose the existence and nature of the interest to the meeting and
leave the room where the meeting is held while any discussion or voting takes place
on the matter. The exception to the requirement to disclose the detail of the
interest is if the matter is a sensitive interest under paragraph 2.10. In these
circumstances you need only state that you have a prejudicial interest, that the
details are withheld because of the sensitive information involved and then leave
the room where the meeting is held which any discussions or voting takes place on
the issue.
(3) Where you have a prejudicial interest in any business of your Council, you may
attend a meeting but only for the purpose of making representations, answering
questions or giving evidence relating to the business and you leave the meeting
room immediately after making representations, answering questions or giving
evidence.
(4) Subject to you disclosing the interest at the meeting, you may attend a meeting
and vote on a matter where you have a prejudicial interest that relates to the
functions of your Council in respect of—
(a) housing, where you are a tenant of your Council provided that those functions
do not relate particularly to your tenancy or lease;
(b) school meals or school transport and travelling expenses, where you are a
parent or guardian of a child in full time education, or are a parent governor of a
school, unless it relates particularly to the school which the child attends;
(c) 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;
(d) an allowance, payment or indemnity given to members;
(e) any ceremonial honour given to members; and
(f) setting council tax or a precept under the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
(5) Where, as a Cabinet/Executive member, you may take an individual decision,
and you become aware of a prejudicial interest in the matter which is the subject of
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the proposed decision you must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest and
must not take any steps or further steps in the matter, or seek to influence a
decision about the matter.
Overview and Scrutiny
(6) In relation to any business before an overview and scrutiny committee of the
Council (or of a sub-committee of such a committee) where—
(a) that business relates to a decision made (whether implemented or not) or
action taken by your Council’s Cabinet/Executive or another of your Council’s
committees, sub-committees, joint committees or joint sub-committees; and
(b) at the time the decision was made or action was taken, you were a member
of the Cabinet/Executive, committee, sub-committee, joint committee or joint subcommittee
mentioned in paragraph a) and you were present when that decision was
made or action was taken;
or
(c) that business relates to a decision made (whether implemented or not) or
action taken by you (whether by virtue of the Council’s constitution or under
delegated authority from the Leader);
you may attend a meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee or sub-committee
of the Council 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.
Sensitive Interests
2.10 (1) If you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or a Personal or Personal and
Prejudicial Interest but you consider that disclosure of the interest could lead
to you or a person connected with you being subject to violence or
intimidation and the Monitoring Officer agrees with that assessment then
instead of disclosing the interest you need only disclose that you have a
Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or Personal or Personal and Prejudicial
Interest (as the case may be). In such instances any published version of the
register of interests will exclude details of the interest but may state that you
have an interest, the details of which are withheld.
3. Receipts of gifts and hospitality
3.1 (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 £25 which you have accepted as a
member from any person or body other than the Council.
(2) The Monitoring Officer will place your notification on a public register of gifts and
hospitality.
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APPENDIX A1
THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC LIFE
Preamble: The principles of public life apply to anyone who works as a public officeholder.
This includes all those who are elected or appointed to public office, nationally and
locally, and all people appointed to work in the civil service, local government, the police,
courts and probation services, NDPBs, and in the health, education, social and care
services. All public office-holders are both servants of the public and stewards of public
services. The principles also have application to all those in other sectors delivering public
services.
SELFLESSNESS
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
INTEGRITY
Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or
organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should
not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves,
their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and
relationships.
OBJECTIVITY
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using
the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
ACCOUNTABILITY
Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and
must admit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
OPENNESS
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner.
Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful
reasons for so doing.
HONESTY
Holders of public office should be truthful.
LEADERSHIP
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should
actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor
behaviour wherever it occurs.
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APPENDIX A2
COUNCIL’S CODE OF CONDUCT – INTERPRETATION
In the Council’s Code of Conduct the following words shall have the following meanings
ascribed to them—
• “the Act” means the Localism Act 2011;
• “Disclosable Pecuniary Interest” is as defined in Appendix A3
• “meeting” means any meeting of—
(a) the Council;
(b) the Cabinet/Executive of the Council;
(c) any of the Council’s or its Cabinet’s/Executive’s committees, sub-committees, joint
committees, joint sub-committees, or area committees;
whether or not the press and public are excluded from the meeting in question by a
resolution of members
• “member” includes a co-opted member and an elected member.
• “sensitive information” means information relating to a member’s interests that the
monitoring officer has determined need not be included in the member’s registration of
an interest or any change to that interest, by virtue of the fact that its availability for
inspection by the public is likely to create a serious risk that any person may be
subjected to violence or intimidation
• “bullying” means offensive, intimidating, malicious, insulting or humiliating behaviour
based on abuse or misuse of power or Council which attempts to undermine
• “disrepute” means a lack of good reputation or respectability which can be reasonably
regarded as reducing the public’s confidence in that member being able to fulfil their
role or adversely affecting the reputation of members generally in being able to fulfil
their role
• “significant person” in relation to personal and personal and prejudicial Interests means
(a) a member of your family or any person with whom you have a close association;
or
(b) any body
(1) of which you are a member or in a position of general control or management
and to which you are appointed or nominated by the Council;
(2) exercising functions of a public nature;
(3) established for charitable purposes; or
(4) 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
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• “wellbeing” means a condition of contentedness, healthiness and happiness. Anything
that could be said to affect a person’s quality of life, either positively or negatively, is
likely to affect their well-being. It is not restricted to matters affecting a person’s
financial position.
• “close association” means someone that you are in regular contact with over a period
of time who is more than an acquaintance or colleague. It may be a friend, a business
associate or someone you know through general social contacts. It is someone who a
reasonable member of the public might think that you would be prepared to favour or
disadvantage when discussing a matter that affects them.
• “member of the family” means partner i.e someone you are married to, your civil
partner, or someone you live with in a similar capacity, a parent, parent-in-law, a son or
daughter, a stepson or stepdaughter, the child of a partner, a brother or sister, a
brother or sister of your partner, a grandparent, a grandchild, an uncle or aunt, a
nephew or niece, and the partners of any of these people.
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APPENDIX A3
DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS
This note explains the requirements of the Localism Act 2011 (Ss 29-34) in relation to
disclosable pecuniary interests.
These provisions are enforced by criminal sanction.
They came into force on 1 July 2012
1. Notification of disclosable pecuniary interests
Within 28 days of becoming a member or co-opted member, you must notify the
Monitoring Officer of any ‘disclosable pecuniary interests’.
A ‘Disclosable Pecuniary Interest’ is an interest of yourself or your partner (which means
spouse or civil partner, a person with whom you are living as husband or wife, or a person
with whom you are living as if you are civil partners) within the following descriptions:
Interest Description
Employment, office,
trade, profession or
vacation
An 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 Council ) made or provided within
the relevant period in respect of any expenses
incurred by M in carrying out duties as a member, or
towards the election expenses of M.
This includes any payment or financial benefit from a
trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and
Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
Contract Any contract which is made between the relevant
person (or a body in which the relevant person has a
beneficial interest) 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.
Land Any beneficial interest in land which is within the area
of the Council.
Licences Any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy
land in the area of the Council for a month or longer.
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Corporate tenancies Any tenancy where (to M’s knowledge) –
(a) the landlord is the Council; and (b) the tenant is
body in which the relevant person has a beneficial
interest.
Securities Any beneficial interest in securities of a body where –
(a) that body (to M/s knowledge) has a place of
business or land in the area of the Council; 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.
These descriptions on interests are subject to the following definitions;
“the Act” means the Localism Act 2011;
“body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest” means a firm in which the
relevant person is a partner or a body corporate of which the relevant person is a
director, or in the securities of which the relevant person has a beneficial interest;
“director” includes a member of the committee of management of an industrial and
provident society;
“land” includes an easement, servitude, interest or right in or over land which does not
carry with it a right for the relevant person (alone or jointly with another) to occupy the
land or to receive income;
“M” means the person M referred to in section 30 of the Act;
“member” includes a co-opted member;
“relevant authority” means the Council of which M is a member;
“relevant period” means the period of 12 months ending with the day on which M gives
a notification for the purposes of section 30(1) of the Act;
“relevant person” in relation to disclosable pecuniary interests means M or M’s spouse
or civil partner or a person with whom M is living as husband and wife or a person with
whom M is living as if they were civil partners;
securities” means shares, debentures, debenture stock, loan stock, bonds, units of a
collective investment scheme within the meaning of the Financial Services and Markets
Act 2000() and other securities of any description, other than money deposited with a
building society.
2. Dispensations
The Standards Committee or Monitoring Officer may grant you a dispensation, but only in
limited circumstances, to enable you to participate and vote on a matter in which you have
a disclosable pecuniary interest.
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3. Offences
It is a criminal offence to
• Fail to notify the Monitoring Officer of any disclosable pecuniary interest within 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 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 a Cabinet/Executive member discharging a function acting alone, and having a
disclosable pecuniary interest in such a matter, failing to notify the Monitoring
Officer within 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 to impose a fine not exceeding level 5 on
the standard scale and disqualification from being a councillor for up to 5 years.
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APPENDIX A4
Guidance on Bias and Predetermination
This is not part of the code of conduct
(1) Where you have been involved in campaigning in your political role on an issue
which does not impact on your personal and/or professional life you may participate
in a decision on the issue in your political role as a member. However, you must not
place yourself under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or
organisations that might seek to influence you in the performance of your official
duties.
(2) When making a decision, consider the matter with an open mind and on the facts
made available to the meeting at which the decision is to be taken.
Constitution of Somerset County Council – Appendices
App G 14 V5.0 approved 16 May 2012