The Code of Conduct
The Localism Act has introduced significant changes to the standards regime. Standards for England ceased its regulatory function on 31 January 2012 and was abolished on 31 March 2012. The remaining elements of the regime were abolished on 1 July 2012.
From 1 July 2012, all standards matters, including consideration and determination of outstanding complaints will be the responsibility of local authorities to be handled under new arrangements. Code of Conduct (July 2012) (PDF File, 461kb). These new arrangements were agreed by the Council at their meeting held on 15th May 2012 and endorsed at its meeting on 19 June 2012.
Further to these new arrangements the Council at its meeting held on 19 June 2012, adopted a new Code of Conduct (July 2012) (PDF File, 461kb) which reflects the seven 'Nolan Principles' for holders of public office. These arrangements detail the procedures for dealing with complaints, including complaints in relation to town and parish councillors.
The remit of the Policy and Finance Committee includes the Code of Conduct and is currently responsible for:
- Ensuring councillors are trained to carry out their duties effectively
- Advising on the Councillors' Code of Conduct (July 2012) (PDF File, 461kb)
- Dealing with the local filtering of complaints and dispensation requests (where these are not dealt with by the Monitoring Officer under delegated powers)
- Conducting of local hearings and determination of sanctions should a breach of the code of conduct be found
The Policy and Finance Committee can grant dispensations for District Councillors allowing them to speak and vote at a meeting when they have a disclosable pecuniary interest. In certain circumstances the power to grant a dispensation is delegated to the Monitoring Officer. Under the new regime Town/Parish Councillors should seek dispensation from their Town/Parish Council.
Attached is a link to further information on making a Request for Dispensation (July 2012) (PDF File, 263kb). Please note that Town/Parish Councillors will need to refer to their Town/Parish Clerk for further information on how to make a dispensation request to their Town/Parish Council.
The Council at its meeting on 19 June 2012 approved the appointment of Richard George Dix as Independent Person and approved the appointment of Sharon Jones as reserve candidate.
The Independent Person may be consulted by a member against whom a complaint is made and must be consulted by the members of any Hearing Panel prior to any hearing.
The Council's arrangements also provide that the Monitoring Officer will consult the Independent Person, when acting under delegated powers, prior to determining whether a complaint warrants formal investigation and in exploring the potential for local resolution prior to a formal hearing taking place.