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Agenda item

Code of Members' Conduct

To adopt the Code of Members’ Conduct with effect from 1 February 2023. 


68.1          The report of the Monitoring Officer, circulated at Pages No. 73-96, recommended a revised Code of Members’ Conduct following consideration by the Standards Committee and consultation with all Members.  The Council was asked to adopt the Code of Members’ Conduct, attached at Appendix 2 to the report, with effect from 1 February 2023.

68.2           In proposing the recommendation in the report, the Chair of the Standards Committee was pleased to be recommending to the Council a revised Code of Members’ Conduct for adoption with effect from 1February 2023.  Members would see from the report that the current Code of Conduct had been in effect since July 2012 and he was glad to say, that, having served on the Standards Committee for 10 years and been Chair for the past five years, it had served them well - Members were clear about what was required and there had been very few complaints of non-compliance by Borough Councillors.  Following a review of ethical standards in Local Government, the Committee on Standards in Public Life observed that the freedom of Councils to devise their own individual Codes of Conduct, rather than a national model, was potentially confusing for the public, particularly where substantially different Codes were adopted by authorities in the same geographic area.  Therefore, the Monitoring Officers for all Gloucestershire authorities had recognised the benefit of introducing a common Code of Conduct for use across all tiers of local government in Gloucestershire.  The Code attached at Appendix 2 to the report, which the Standards Committee was recommending for adoption, was the Code which the Monitoring Officers supported, with limited variation to reflect each Council’s governance arrangements.  It was very similar in content and style to the Council’s existing Code, but had been updated and took into account the model Code produced by the Local Government Association (LGA).  Gloucestershire County Council and Cheltenham Borough Council had recently adopted a version of this Code.  Following approval by the Standards Committee, all Councillors were consulted on the draft Code of Conduct and no concerns or suggested amendments were raised.  He therefore had no hesitation in recommending the Code for adoption.  Members would also note from the report that, following approval of the Code, the Monitoring Officer would be recommending adoption of a suitably amended draft to the Town and Parish Councils in the Borough.  The proposal was seconded by the Vice-Chair of the Standards Committee who echoed these sentiments.

68.3           A Member questioned who decided whether a Member was in breach of the Code of Conduct and what happened if the Members disagreed with the claim.  In response, the Monitoring Officer advised that this came under the procedure which had been adopted for complaints, much of which had been delegated to her as the Monitoring Officer.  She had the benefit of being able to consult two independent persons who were completely impartial in their view, and it would be a matter of judgement, taking into account the facts and circumstances of the case.  If something was disputed, it would be investigated and potentially determined by the Standards Committee. 

68.4           Accordingly, it was

RESOLVED          That the Code of Members’ Conduct, as attached at Appendix 2 to the report, be ADOPTED with effect from 1 February 2023.

Supporting documents: