Guide Draft Councillor Code of Conduct

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6. Protecting your reputation and the reputation of the Council

6. Protecting your reputation and the reputation of the Council

6.1 Interests – as a councillor:

6.1.1 I register and disclose my interests in accordance with Appendix B. Section 29 of the Localism Act 2011 requires the Monitoring Officer to establish and maintain a register of interests of members of the Council. You need to register your interests so that the public, Council employees and fellow councillors know which of your interests might give rise to a conflict of interest. The register is a public document that can be consulted when (or before) an issue arises. The register also protects you by allowing you to demonstrate openness and a willingness to be held accountable. You are personally responsible for deciding whether or not you should disclose an interest in a meeting, but it can be helpful for you to know early on if others think that a potential conflict might arise. It is also important that the public know about any interest that might have to be disclosed by you or other councillors when making or taking part in decisions, so that decision making is seen by the public as open and honest. This helps to ensure that public confidence in the integrity of local governance is maintained. You should note that failure to register or disclose a disclosable pecuniary interest as set out in Table 1, is a criminal offence under the Localism Act 2011. Appendix B sets out the detailed provisions on registering and disclosing interests. If in doubt, you should always seek advice from your Monitoring Officer. The Council has agreed that a co-opted member who has no voting rights is not expected to complete a register of interest.

6.2 Gifts and hospitality – as a councillor:

6.2.1 I do not accept gifts or hospitality, irrespective of estimated value, which could give rise to real or substantive personal gain or a reasonable suspicion of influence on my part to show favour from persons seeking to acquire, develop or do business with the Council or from persons who may apply to the Council for any permission, licence or other significant advantage.
6.2.2 I register with the Monitoring Officer any individual gift or hospitality with an estimated value of at least £50 or number of gifts or hospitality from the same donor which individually are below the estimated value threshold but which cumulative result in an estimated value of at least £100 within 28 days of its receipt.
6.2.3 I register with the Monitoring Officer any significant gift or hospitality that I have been offered but have refused to accept.
6.2.4 I disclose the existence of any gift or hospitality where I am present at a meeting where the gift or hospitality received is relevant to the matter of business being discussed irrespective of whether it has been entered into the register in accordance with paragraph 6.2.2 above. In order to protect your position and the reputation of the Council, you should exercise caution in accepting any gifts or hospitality which are (or which you reasonably believe to be) offered to you because you are a councillor. The presumption should always be not to accept significant gifts or hospitality. However, there may be times when such a refusal may be difficult if it is seen as rudeness in which case you could accept it but must ensure it is publicly registered. However, you do not need to register gifts and hospitality which are not related to your role as a councillor, such as Christmas gifts from your friends and family. It is also important to note that it is appropriate to accept normal expenses and hospitality associated with your duties as a councillor. If you are unsure, do contact your Monitoring Officer for guidance.