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Code of conduct for councillors and co-opted members

Part 5 (a)

Spelthorne Borough Council

Code of conduct for councillors and co-opted members

General Obligations

You are a councillor or co-opted member of Spelthorne Borough Council and hence you shall have regard to the following principles - selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Accordingly, when acting in your capacity as a councillor or co-opted member -

1.You must act solely in the public interest and should never improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person or act to gain financial or other material benefits for yourself, your family, a friend or close associate.
2.You must not place yourself under a financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence you in the performance of your official duties.
3.When carrying out your public duties you must make all choices, such as making public appointments, awarding contracts or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits, on merit.
4.You are accountable for your decisions to the public and you must co-operate fully with whatever scrutiny is appropriate to your office.
5.You must be as open as possible about your decisions and actions and the decisions and actions of your authority and should be prepared to give reasons for those decisions and actions.
6.You must declare any private interests, both pecuniary and non-pecuniary, that relate to your public duties and must take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest, including registering and declaring interests in a manner conforming with the procedures set out below.
7.You must promote and support high standards of conduct when serving in your public post, in particular as characterised by the above requirements, by leadership and example.
8.You must, when using or authorising the use by others of the resources of your authority, ensure that such resources are not used improperly for political purposes (including party political purposes) and you must have regard to any applicable Local Authority Code of Publicity made under the Local Government Act 1986.
9.You must treat others with respect. This means treating people fairly and equitably and with courtesy, compassion and sensitivity. You should treat other people equally as you yourself would expect to be treated. You must never use behaviour which a reasonable person would consider as offensive, overbearing, intimidating, malicious, insulting or humiliating.
10.You must discharge your duties and conduct yourself in such a way that assists the Council to comply with its duties under the Equality Act 2010.
11.You must respect the distinct but complementary roles that councillors and officers have in their work for the Council and abide by the advice in the Member Officer Protocol.
12.You must recognise that the staff working for, or on behalf of, the Council are required to be impartial and you must not do anything which compromises that impartiality.
13.If a complaint is made under this Code of Conduct then you must not interfere with the administration or investigation of the complaint and you must not intimidate any complainant, witness or likely witness or engage with them in any way which undermines the investigation.
Registering and declaring pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests
14.You must, within 28 days of taking office as a councillor or co-opted member, notify the Monitoring Officer of any "Disclosable Pecuniary Interest" as defined by regulations made by the Secretary of State, where the pecuniary interest is yours, your spouse's or civil partner's, or is the pecuniary interest of somebody with whom you are living with as a husband or wife, or as if you were civil partners.
15.In addition, you must, within 28 days of taking office as a councillor or co-opted member, notify the Monitoring Officer of other Non-Pecuniary Interests which the Council has decided should be included in the register.

The Council has decided that it is appropriate for you to register and disclose Non Pecuniary Interests that arise from your membership of, or your occupation of a position of general control or management in, the following bodies:

a. bodies to which you have been appointed or nominated by the Council;

b. bodies exercising functions of a public nature;

c. bodies directed to charitable purposes;

d. bodies one of whose principal purposes includes the influence of public opinion or policy.

17.If an interest (under paragraphs 14-16 above) has not been entered onto the Council's register, then the councillor or co-opted member must disclose the interest to any meeting of the authority at which they are present, where they have an interest in any matter being considered and where the matter is not a 'sensitive interest'.
18.Following any disclosure of an interest not on the authority'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 disclosure.
19.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 as defined by regulations made by the Secretary of State. Additionally, your must observe the restrictions your authority places on your involvement in matters where you have a pecuniary or non pecuniary interest as defined by your authority. 1 A 'sensitive interest' is described in the Localism Act 2011 where the councillor or person connected with the councillor could be subject to violence or intimidation.
Other guidance

The Members' Code of Conduct publishes other guidance to assist councillors and co-opted members to meet the aspirations of this Code. You should make yourself familiar with this guidance and act accordingly:

a. The Planning Code
b. Policy on Gifts, Hospitality and Sponsorship
c. Conflicts of Interest Policy


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