The ethical framework
Local authorities are required to adopt a code of conduct, which sets out rules governing the behaviour of their Members and satisfies the requirements of the Localism Act 2011. All elected, co-opted and independent members of local authorities, including parish councils, are required to abide by their own, formally adopted, code. The code of conduct seeks to ensure that members observe the highest standards of conduct in their civic role. The code is intended to be consistent with the seven principles:
Seven general principles of conduct
Selflessness – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.
Integrity – Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
Objectivity – In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
Accountability – Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Openness – Holders of public office should be as open as possible about the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
Honesty – Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Leadership – Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership, and by example, and should act in a way that secures or preserves public confidence.