Localism Act 2011: the new standards and conduct arrangements for members
Parliament has provided Regulations to provide that all Councils adopt a code of conduct for its members and to have a register of members ‘ interests. This is to ensure that there is openness and clarity in Council dealings and is based on the fundamental ‘Nolan Principles’ upon which public service is founded; selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
Whilst Councils can adopt their own code, Thurgarton Parish Council has decided to adopt the recommended code drafted by Newark and Sherwood District Council but have adopted additionally a strict hospitality code. Thurgarton Parish Council are unanimously and firmly of the opinion that by offering themselves to stand for, and accept, election they are offering to serve on an altruistic and voluntary basis, without expectation of gain or preferment, on behalf of the local community.
Register of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI)
In summary, under the Regulations all Councillors must declare any DPI they or their spouses/partners have in the area they are serving. You can read more about what constitutes a DPI on the District Council website but basically this is relates to assets or liabilities within the area including any business interests. This primary information is held at the District Council but also must be shown on the Parish website. This can be found below for our 7 Councillors.
Any councillor having a DPI relating to any business discussed at a Parish Council meeting must not participate in the discussion or vote. Only in certain circumstances may a dispensation be granted. It is a criminal offence to fail to tell the monitoring officer (without a reasonable excuse) of any DPI or carry on working on an issue in particular circumstances where a DPI is held. The full rules on DPI may be found in the Localism Act 2011 available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/20/section/30/enacted.
Summary of Interests
|Tina Tsoukatos||Home Address: Fairways, Beck St, Thurgarton, NG14 7HB|
|David Lewis||Home address: Manor Farm House, Beck St, Thurgarton Employment/Office: Siemens, Lincoln, LN5 7FD|
All our Councillors have signed up to a ‘nil’ Hospitality code, found here (link). This means that any gift or form of hospitality must be declared to the Chair/Clerk of the Council and may not be retained. A full record of the donor, value, circumstances is also to be retained. Again this is to ensure probity under the Nolan principles. A register must be held and this is shown below updated if, as and when benefits are received.
|Nature of gift/benefit||Name, address of donor and date||Approx. value of said||Date notified Chair/Clerk in writing with this information|
Dispensations are formal agreements to permit Councillors with an interest in the matter being discussed to debate and make decisions on the issue. Normally a Councillor with an interest would, in advance or at the time, declare the interest and withdraw from the discussion. Thurgarton Parish Council take the view that the withdrawee may or may not remain in the room depending on the issue at hand. The decision on this is made at the time by the Chair. Dispensations therefore permit continued debate but it is then everyone is aware of the potentiality of a conflict of interests. Dispensations or potential conflicts should be in the public domain. Accordingly any formal dispensation is posted on the website for public awareness.
Written October 2012