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CODE OF CONDUCT NORTH WEST LEICESTERSHIRE THE CHANGES UNDER THE LOCALISM ACT 2011 1North West Leicestershire District Council.

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Presentation on theme: "CODE OF CONDUCT NORTH WEST LEICESTERSHIRE THE CHANGES UNDER THE LOCALISM ACT 2011 1North West Leicestershire District Council."— Presentation transcript:

1 CODE OF CONDUCT NORTH WEST LEICESTERSHIRE THE CHANGES UNDER THE LOCALISM ACT North West Leicestershire District Council

2 OUTCOMES To update Members on the changes to the Code of Conduct as of 1 July To understand what are Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and how they are to be declared. To understand the law on Predetermination. 2North West Leicestershire District Council

3 THE NEW CODE The wording of the old Code is reflected in the New Code. Definitions already defined by case law - beneficial to keep these when interpreting alleged breaches. A lot of the obligations have been carried over from the old Code. There is nothing new - underlying principles remain the same. 3North West Leicestershire District Council

4 CODE OF CONDUCT CURRENTNEWCOMMENTS Paragraph 1 This Code applies to you.Same. Paragraph 2 This Code applies to you whenever you conduct the business of your authority, or act, claim to act, or give the impression you are acting. Applies only when acting in the capacity of Councillor. The Localism Act has removed the presumption of acting in the capacity and the “do you know who I am principle”. Paragraph 3 Treating others with respect. Same. Paragraph 4 Confidentiality.Same. Paragraph 5 Bringing your authority into disrepute. Same, paragraph 5.1. Paragraph 6 Using position improperly, conferring an advantage, using authority’s resources. Obligations remain although now the new Paragraphs 5.2, 5.3, and North West Leicestershire District Council

5 CODE OF CONDUCT CURRENTNEWCHANGES Paragraph 7 Regard to advice from authority’s officers. Now Paragraph 6. Paragraph 7 imposes a duty on Members to be accountable for their decisions. This new paragraph imposes a duty on all Members to ensure they are responsible for the conduct and behaviour shown while acting in the capacity of Councillor. Paragraph 8 Personal Interests Paragraph 9 Disclosure of Personal interests. Paragraph 10 Prejudicial Interests. Personal/Prejudicial Interests are no longer applicable under the new Code of Conduct. Paragraph 8 of the new Code relates to Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI). These are a new breed of Interests set down by Regulations which require Members to disclose and make public, their pecuniary interests. What qualifies as a DPI is set down by Regulations. Paragraph 13 Register of Member’s Interests. Paragraph 8 of the new Code requires Members to disclose their Disclosable Pecuniary Interests. This is a requirement imposed by statute and failure to notify is subject to a criminal sanction if proven. 5North West Leicestershire District Council

6 CODE OF CONDUCT CURRENTNEWCHANGES Paragraph 9 of the new Code requires Members to disclose interests which although not Pecuniary, may affect the Member’s ability to comply with other obligations in terms of individual merit and open decision making. Membership of groups such as “friends of associations” would fall into this category. These Interests are not subject to criminal sanction but failure to notify may result in some other sanction imposed by the Audit and Governance Committee. Paragraph 10 grants the Monitoring Officer the Authority to grant one dispensation for one meeting only and provides the procedure for a member applying for one. Paragraph 11 relates to Sensitive Interests. 6North West Leicestershire District Council

7 DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS What are they? Set down by Regulations – an interest in which you or your spouse has a financial connection. Requirement to disclose –the Localism Act imposes a duty to disclose these interests where they are known to you. Criminal sanction –Failure to disclose may result in a criminal prosecution and sanction (up to £5,000 or 5 years disqualification). 7North West Leicestershire District Council

8 DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS What are they? Wider duty under the Code –Duty to disclose any family member or close associate. –Required to disclose at meeting where that interest arises. –Requirement to leave the meeting where that interest arises. –Breach of the code of conduct subject to sanctions. 8North West Leicestershire District Council

9 CRIMINAL LIABILITY Misconduct in Public Office –Wilful misuse of public authority amounting to a breach of public trust. Prevention of Corruption - “Corruptly solicit or receive for himself or for any other person any gift, loan, fee, reward or advantage whatever as an inducement to, or reward for, or otherwise on account of any member, officer or servant of a public body doing or forbearing to do anything in respect of any matter or transaction whatsoever in which the said public body is concerned”. Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act North West Leicestershire District Council

10 DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS Register of Interests Requirement to register your interest –On the required form provided by your member support officer. What goes on the form –Interests of you or your spouse. –Interests of your other family members or close associates need only be added when they arise. I nterests disclosed at meetings –Need to be registered within 28 days. Duty on the Member –It is your responsibility to ensure the interest is registered. 10North West Leicestershire District Council

11 DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS Participation in Meetings Where you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in a matter to be determined you MUST NOT participate in the meeting and are required to remove yourself from the meeting. 11North West Leicestershire District Council

12 DISCLOSABLE NON PECUNIARY INTERESTS What are they? –Interests in which you have an interest but not a financial connection. Requirement to disclose –When they arise. Participation in meetings –May remain and vote provided other Code of Conduct obligations are not breached. Sanctions 12North West Leicestershire District Council

13 SENSITIVE INTERESTS Detail not required on the form Definition of a Sensitive Interest set down by the Localism Act 2011 Section 32(2) “The nature of the interest is such that the member or co- opted member, and the authority’s monitoring officer, consider that disclosure of the details of the interest could lead to the member or co-opted member, or a person connected with the member or co-opted member, being subject to violence or intimidation” 13

14 DISPENSATIONS One dispensation to be granted by the Monitoring Officer Any subsequent dispensations to be granted by the Audit and Governance Committee. Reasons for dispensations set down by the Localism Act 2011 Section

15 PREDETERMINATION There is no longer a presumption of a closed mind just because a Member has previously campaigned on an issue. The Act does not allow previous statements or actions to be completely disregarded, rather that they are not by themselves to be taken as amounting to a predetermined mind. 15North West Leicestershire District Council

16 BIAS Actual bias automatically disqualifies a member from sitting on the decision making body Includes appearance of bias from either: -a disqualifying interest (a registered interest); –OR -Where a reasonably fair minded observer would conclude there is a real possibility that the member is biased 16North West Leicestershire District Council

17 PRE-DETERMINATION VS PRE- DISPOSITION Predetermination The “closed mind” Where the member has come to the table having already come to a decision, regardless of what they subsequently hear Predisposition A mere inclination Will still consider all the information with an open mind before coming to a determination 17North West Leicestershire District Council

18 BIAS, PRE-DETERMINATION AND PRE-DISPOSITION Don’t make up your mind too early Consider all the information and consider it fairly Have an open mind Decide as an individual, not a party member, as the Code of Conduct requires 18North West Leicestershire District Council

19 ARRANGEMENTS Early Member involvement Informal Resolution Greater Flexibility Consultation with Parish Clerks/Chairman Co-option of Parish Members on to Sub Committees when dealing with Parish Council issues. 19

20 QUESTIONS 20North West Leicestershire District Council

21 Thank You for Attending 21North West Leicestershire District Council


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