Guide Draft Councillor Code of Conduct

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9. Councillor Code of Conduct Guidance Notes

Councillor Code of Conduct Guidance Notes


LGA guidance on the Model Code of Conduct in relation to interests states:

  • ‘Directly relates to’ means it must be directly about the interest rather than simply affecting it – e.g. discussing an application about a property in which there is a financial interest as opposed to a neighbouring property where there is no financial interest or considering an application for funding from an organisation of which you are a member as opposed to discussing an annual report from the organisation where no decision is required.
  • ‘Affects’ means it is not directly about the interest but nevertheless the matter has clear implications for the interest – e.g. discussing a neighbour’s planning application – and which can be positive (gain) or negative (loss) in impact.
  • ‘Well-being’ can be described as a condition of contentedness and happiness and isn’t just about finances but can include anything that could affect quality of life either positively or negatively whether temporarily or on a permanent basis.
  • ‘Relative or close associate’ is likely to be someone who the councillor is in regular or irregular contact over a period of time who is more than an acquaintance – it may be a friend, a colleague, a business associate, someone known through general social contacts or someone who the councillor is known to show animosity to - and who a reasonable member of the public might think the councillor would be prepared to favour or disadvantage when discussing a matter affecting them.

Guidance on Bias and Predetermination and predisposition

  • Councillors are permitted to have a pre-disposition towards a particular outcome. This means councillors can hold and express a view or inclination towards a future decision but requires a councillor to be open to having their views changed when it comes to the final decision.
  • 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.
  • 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. To take part in a discussion and decision on a matter with a closed mind (whether through bias or pre-determination) will put the Council at risk of a finding of maladministration and / or of legal proceedings. If a Councillor feels that they are biased or predetermined then this should be recorded in the minutes and then they should not be involved in the discussion and vote.

*It should be noted that there more stringent rules on this in respect of planning decisions which are contained in the ‘Code of Good Practice for Councillors and Officers dealing with planning matters’.