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Introduction and Interpretation

Pursuant to section 27 of the Localism Act 2011, Lambourn Parish Council has adopted this Code of Conduct to promote and maintain high standards of behaviour by its members and co-opted members whenever they conduct the business of the Council.
This Code applies to you as a Member of Lambourn Parish Council (“the Council”) when you act in your role as a Member. You are a representative of the Council and the public will view you as such. Lambourn Parish Council is under a duty to promote and maintain high standards of conduct by members.
This Code is based on and is consistent with the principles of public life set out in Section 27 of the Localism Act 2011 which Lambourn Parish Council endorses: –

  • Selflessness – members should serve only in the public interest and should never improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person.
  • Honesty and Integrity – members should not place themselves in situations where their honesty and integrity may be questioned, should not behave improperly and should on all occasions avoid the appearance of such behaviour.
  • Objectivity – members should make decisions on merit, including when making appointments, awarding contracts or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits.
  • Accountability – members should be accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to your office.
  • Openness – members should be as open as possible about their actions and those of your council and be prepared to give reasons for those actions
  • Leadership – 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 in a way that secures or preserves public confidence.
  • Personal Judgement – take into account the views of other, but reach their own conclusion based on the facts presented.
  • Respect for Others – members should promote equality by not discriminating against any person, and by treating people with respect, regardless of their race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. They should respect the impartiality and integrity of the authority’s statutory officers and its other employees.
  • Duty to Uphold the law –members should uphold the law and, on all occasions, act in accordance with the trust that the public is entitled to place in them
  • Stewardship – members should do whatever they are able to do to ensure that their authorities use their resources prudently, and in accordance with the law.

It is your responsibility to comply with the provisions of this Code when acting in your capacity as a Member.

Definitions

For the purposes of this Code, a ‘co-opted member’ is a person who is not a member of the Council but who is either a member of any committee or sub-committee of the Council, or a member of, and represents the Council on any joint committee or joint sub-committee of the Council, and who is entitled to vote on any question that falls to be decided at any meeting of that committee or sub-committee.
For the purposes of this Code, a ‘meeting’ is a meeting of the Council, any of its committees or sub-committees. For the purposes of this Code, and unless otherwise expressed, a reference to a member of the Council includes a co-opted member of the Council.

General Obligations

Members must always treat colleagues, officers, other organizations and members of the public with respect.
Members must not conduct themselves in a manner which is contrary to the Council’s duty to promote and maintain high standards of conduct by Members.
Members must not bully any person.
Members must not do anything that compromises or is likely to compromise the impartiality of those who work for, or on behalf of the council.
Members must not disclose information given to them in confidence by anyone, or information acquired by them of which they are aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, is of a confidential nature except where:

(i) they have the consent of a person authorised to give it;
(ii) they are required by law to do so;
(iii) 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
(iv) the disclosure is:
a) reasonable and in the public interest;
b) made in good faith and in compliance with the reasonable requirements of the council.

Members must not improperly use knowledge gained solely as a result of their role for personal advantage.
Members must comply with the Lambourn Parish Council Communication Policy.
Members must not prevent another person from gaining access to information to which that person is entitled by law.
Members must not use or attempt to use their position as a Member improperly to confer on or secure for themselves or any other person an advantage or disadvantage
When using or authorising the use by others of the resources of the Council –

  • Act in accordance with the Council’s reasonable requirements and policies;
  • Ensure that such resources are not used improperly for political purposes (including party political purposes); and
  • Have regard to any applicable Local Authority Code of Publicity made under the Local Government Act 1986.

Gifts and Hospitality

Members must exercise caution in accepting any gifts or hospitality which are (or which you reasonably believe to be) offered to you because you are a Member.
Members must not accept significant gifts or hospitality 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.
Members must register with the Parish Clerk any gift or hospitality with an estimated value above £25 within 28 days of its receipt.

Registration of Interests

Members must notify the Clerk of their disclosable pecuniary interests, or other interests which the Council has decided are appropriate for registration. On election, members must do this within 28 days of being elected or appointed to office.
Members must notify the Clerk of any disclosable pecuniary or other interests not already registered within 28 days of your re-election or re-appointment to office.
Members must be aware that disclosable pecuniary interests include not only their interests but also the interests of their 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 they were a civil partner, so far as you are aware of the interests of that person.
Members must be aware that the Council has decided that it is appropriate for them 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 –

(i) bodies to which they have been appointed or nominated by the Council;
(ii) bodies exercising functions of a public nature;
(iii) bodies directed to charitable purposes;
(iv) bodies one of whose principal purposes include the influence of public opinion or policy.

Disclosure of Interests and Participation

Members must disclose to a meeting, at which you are present, any disclosable pecuniary interest, or other interest which the Council has decided is appropriate for disclosure.
Members must notify the Clerk of any interest not already registered that is disclosed to a meeting as above within 28 days of the disclosure. Members must not participate in any discussion, or vote, where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest in a matter. They will be expected to withdraw from the meeting during the consideration of the matter. Details of disclosable pecuniary interests are set out in the Annexe to this Code.

Decision-making and Predetermination

Where members have been involved in campaigning in a political or other role on an issue which does not impact on their personal and/or professional life, they should not be prohibited from participating in a decision in their role as a Member.
Members should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organizations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
When making a decision, members must consider the matter with an open mind and on the facts before the meeting at which the decision is to be made, listening to the advice of relevant parties, including advice from officers, and taking all relevant information into consideration, remaining objective and making decisions on merit.

Social Media

The way in which Council members and employees present and conduct themselves on social media can have an impact on public perception of the Council. Members and Employees should consider carefully before they identify themselves as a Member or an employee of the Council on their personal social media accounts as this will increase the likelihood that comments may have an impact on the Council. Anything posted, shared or ‘liked’ on social media could potentially end up in the public domain, regardless of the privacy settings selected by the member or employee. Employees and members should be mindful of this when using social media both for and outside of work.
Employees and members must ensure that their use of social media does not adversely affect the Council, its business, reputation or credibility. They must ensure that their work and personal use of social media does not:

  • breach any Council policy or procedure;
  • subject the Council to legal challenge or potential legal challenge;
  • compromise the privacy or dignity of service users or colleagues;
  • disclose confidential information gained through their employment by the Council;
  • amount to cyber-bullying of colleagues, service users, elected Members or others associated with the Council and its business; for example by posting, commenting or liking information or images about/of them that is intimidating, hostile, abusive, degrading, humiliating or offensive;
  • Criticise Council employees, service users or individual elected Members.
  • show a lack of respect for the opinions and beliefs of others;
  • imply that the personal views of the member or employee are an expression of the views of the Council.
  • Failure to adhere to these requirements may result in action being taken under the Council’s disciplinary procedure and where appropriate this may result in dismissal. If a member or an employee wishes to publicly comment upon policies or proposals of the Council they should take care to ensure that their comments are not personal or offensive.

Protecting the Council and its Standards

The Council needs its members and employees help to ensure that Lambourn Parish Council can continue to be a fair and equitable provider of services, a safe and rewarding place to work and hold the highest standards and reputation. It recognises that members and employees are often the first to know when things are going wrong in the Council’s operations. However, there may be reasons why members and employees are reluctant to draw attention to their concerns e.g. they feel that reporting on colleagues, or elected Members is disloyal, they are worried that they may not be believed, or they are afraid of possible victimisation or future disadvantage. The Council values members and employees who are prepared to acknowledge when things are not right and to bring such matters to the attention so that can deal with them. Only by encouraging reporting of inappropriate or unlawful conduct can the Council protect its reputation and maintain its high standards. Improper or unlawful conduct can cover a wide range including financial irregularity; abuse of power or position; neglect of duty; sexual or racial discrimination; bullying or harassment. If an employee detects or has reason to suspect that colleagues or elected Members are acting improperly, the Council has a reporting process that can be followed without fear of victimisation, discrimination or disadvantage.

Breaches of the Code

A breach of this Code, while not usually amounting to a breach of criminal law, may adversely affect the reputation of the Council and the reputation of an individual Councillor. It could result in a decision being judicially reviewed or result in a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, or an allegation of a breach of the Code of Conduct.
Any alleged breach of this Code of Conduct will be investigated locally in accordance with the procedures associated with the Code of Conduct It is the responsibility of the Monitoring Officer to investigate the case and prepare a report for the Governance and Ethics Committee if a breach of the Code of Conduct is alleged to have occurred. Where any Officer is concerned, in an alleged breach of this Code, this will be investigated in accordance with the Council’s disciplinary procedure.

Complaints

A breach of the Code of Conduct should be brought to the Parish Councils attention via the Clerk or Chair (depending on whom is being reported). An independent person will be asked to evaluate the severity of the breach and report actions to be taken. Alternatively complainants alleging a breach of this protocol may be directed to the Monitoring Officer. To investigate complaints fully, record keeping should be complete and accurate.
A complaint may be made to the Local Government Ombudsman in the event that a complainant was not satisfied with the result of an investigation. This must be made on the appropriate prescribed form and submitted direct to the Local Government Ombudsman.

ANNEXE – Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

  1. Employment, office, trade, profession or vocation Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.
  2. Sponsorship Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the Council) made or provided within the period of 12 months ending with the day on which you give a notification for the purposes of section 30(1) or section 31(7) of the Localism Act 2011 in respect of any expenses incurred in carrying out your duties as a member, or towards your election expenses. This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
  3. Contracts Any contract which is made between you (or a body in which you have 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.
  4. Land Any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the Council.
  5. Licences Any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the Council for a month or longer.
  6. Corporate Tenancies Any tenancy where (to your knowledge)- (a) the landlord is the Council; and (b) the tenant is a body in which you have a beneficial interest.
  7. Securities Any beneficial interest in securities of a body where- (a) that body (to your 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 you have a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

Document Control Information
Document owner: Lambourn Parish Council
Version number: V2.0
Approval Date: 14 December 2019
Approved By: Full Council
Date of last review: 2 December 2019
Review cycle: Annual
Date of next review: #Review 2020-12
Document filename: LPC-Policy-CodeOfConduct.DOC
Most Recent Updates:
8/1/2022 – Amended to use of “Chair” throughout document and correction of formatting errors

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