Agenda item

Model Code of Conduct


The Principal Solicitor presented the report in respect on the Model Code of Conduct and in doing so highlighted the following: -


·       Members of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee had previously considered the report from the Local Government Association (LGA) with regard to Standards in Public Life.

·       The LGA had carried out its review of Model Code of Conduct and had  issued their own version which was in a consultation period until 17th August 2020.

·       The majority of Members do maintain higher standards of conduct in public life.

·       Within the LGA Model Code of Conduct interests had been expanded in order to incorporate ‘Other’ interests as well as the registerable pecuniary interests.


It was reported by the Principal Solicitor that there was guidance within the Model Code of Conduct regarding Members’ use of social media, which was the area where the majority of complaints were received. However, it was felt that the guidance needed to be stronger. Members were asked to consider the model and make any comments to contribute to the LGA consultation or were they happy for the Monitoring Officer to highlight issues in the report and feedback to the LGA.


Members agreed that the idea of a standardised model across all Councils was a good one, however, some Members felt that the figure of £25 for Gifts and Hospitality as suggested in the Model Code of Conduct was too high and that it would be more appropriate to maintain the current figure of £15.


There was lengthy discussion around the process involving sanctions and breaches of the Model Code of Conduct and it was acknowledged by the Committee that in order to do this it would require a change of primary legislation within Parliament. It was with this in mind, that officers agreed to keep a ‘watching brief’ to ensure that Members were kept up to date with any changes that might affect sanctions or breaches in the future.


Members were keen to understand what constituted as a breach on social media e.g. Facebook and Twitter and agreed that this must be made clearer with stronger guidance in the next iteration of the Model Code of Conduct. The Principal Solicitor confirmed that most of the complaints that were received were resolved locally by the Monitoring Officer.


It was agreed that the following be feedback be given to the LGA in respect of the Model Code of Conduct: -


  • Stronger guidance around Members’ use of social media.
  • Figure for the Gifts and Hospitality.
  • Members liked the style and format of the Model Code of Conduct.
  • It made good common sense to have a Model Code of Conduct that was adopted by all Councils.


Members were keen to see the next iteration of the Model Code of Conduct and make further comments and keep a ‘watching brief’ on any legislation changes in Parliament.




the Model Code of Conduct report be noted and that Members comments, as detailed in the preamble above, be reported back to the Local Government Association.

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