The conduct of councillors is formally governed by the code of conduct which every council has adopted. The code of conduct sets out the rules a member should work to. In Poole this forms part of the constitution which all officers and members must follow.
All councillors must make and sign the declaration of acceptance of office in front of the electoral registration and returning officer when they are first elected and this includes an undertaking to observe the code of conduct and the constitution.
Breaches of the rules may be considered by the Standards Committee.
The general principles for England which all councillors must follow are:
- selflessness - members should serve only 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 or ordering contracts or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits
- accountability - members should be accountable to the public for their actions and the manner in which they carry out their responsibilities and should co-operate fully and honestly with any scrutiny appropriate to their particular office
- openness - members should be as open as possible about their actions and those of their authority and should be prepared to give reasons for those actions
- personal judgement - members may take account of the views of others, including their political groups but should reach their own on the issues before them and act in accordance with those conclusions
- respect for others - members should promote equality by not discriminating unlawfully 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 authority uses its resources prudently and in accordance with the law
- leadership - members should promote and support these principles by leadership and by example and should always act in a way that secures or preserves public interest
There are also two very important provisions by which members are bound at all times:
- they should not do anything which brings a councillor or officer into disrepute
- they should not use their official position to their own advantage or to the advantage of others
Page last updated: 17 January 2019