SCOTTISH BORDERS COUNCIL
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR COMMUNITY COUNCILLORS
Community Councillors are expected to show the highest standards of personal conduct in the performance of their duties at all times.
Their duty is to the whole community served by their Community Council. This Code should be used to guide their conduct as a Community Councillor. It is their responsibility to make sure that they are familiar with this Code and that their conduct meets it.
Community Councillors should observe the following principles of conduct :-
2 COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP
Community Councillors should promote and support these principles by leadership and example, always acting in such a way as to protect public confidence in the Community Council.
3 DUTY TO UPHOLD THE LAW
Community Councillors must uphold the law and act on all occasions in line with the public trust placed in them.
Community Councillors have a responsibility to play their part in ensuring that the Community Council uses its resources prudently and in accordance with the law.
4 COMMUNITY INTEREST
Community Councillors should act to assist the Community Council, as far as possible, in the interests of the whole community that it serves.
Community Councillors should act only in the public interest. They should never use their position as a Community Councillor to gain for themselves, their family or friends, any financial benefits, preferential treatment or other advantage, or to grant such benefits, treatment or advantage improperly to others.
6 INTEGRITY AND PROPRIETY
Community Councillors should not put themselves in a position where their integrity is called into question by any financial or other obligations. As well as avoiding actual impropriety they should avoid any appearance of it.
Community Councillors should record all gifts and hospitality, with a monetary value above £10, received in connection with membership of the Community Council They should not accept gifts or hospitality that might reasonably be thought to influence, or be intended to influence, their judgement; or where to do so could bring discredit upon the Community Council.
Whilst Community Councillors may be influenced by the views of others, including particular interest groups, it is their responsibility to decide what view to take, and how to vote, on any question which Community Councillors have to decide.
Community Councillors are accountable through the community they serve for their actions and their part in reaching decisions and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Community Councillors should be as open as possible about all their actions and their part in reaching decisions. They should seek to ensure that reasons are given for decisions of their Community Council.
Community Councillors should ensure that confidential material, including material about individuals, is handled appropriately with regard to the public interests and is not used for private purposes.
Community Councillors may take part in the consideration of questions which come before the Community Council unless they have a private interest, which would cause their participation to raise questions as to their impartiality.
Community Councillors must declare any private interests relating to their Community Council duties and should take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest. They should make relevant declarations of interest at meetings of the Community Council, Sub-Committees or Working Groups to which they are appointed, and in all circumstances where they are active in their role as a Community Councillor.
If Community Councillors have a private interest in a matter before their Community Council, they should consider whether it is appropriate for them to declare this interest and withdraw from discussion and decision making on that matter. In considering this they should have regard to the following criteria:-
That members of the public might reasonably think the private interest could influence them; and
That members of the public might reasonably think the private interest creates a real danger of bias on the part of the Community Councillor because it affects them or someone connected with them, more than any other person or more than the generality of other persons affected by the matter.
In the case of a private interest that meets neither of these criteria, there may be no reason to declare the interest or to take any further action.
In the case of a private interest which meets criteria detailed in 13.2.1, Community Councillors should declare their interest but they may decide to participate in the discussion and decision making on the matter.
In the case of a private interest which meets criteria detailed in 13.2.2, Community Councillors should declare their interest and withdraw from the discussion and decision making on the matter.
In the case of a private interest which meets both criteria detailed in 13.2.1 & 13.2.2 and if this private interest is of a continuing nature, it may be that it would cause a Community Councillor to withdraw from the consideration of business on such a frequent basis that they would be of little value to their Community Council. In this case, they should not seek to serve as a Community Councillor.
Private financial interests may be more likely to be of a nature that meets the above criteria however private non-financial interests may also meet the criteria. The fundamental principle to bear in mind is that Community Councillors should not do anything that they cannot justify to the public in terms of this code.
14 RELATIONS WITH SCOTTISH BORDERS COUNCIL COUNCILLORS
Community Councillors should respect the role of Scottish Borders Council Elected Members and treat them in a way that engenders mutual respect at all times.
15 RELATIONS WITH SCOTTISH BORDERS COUNCIL EMPLOYEES
Community Councillors should respect the role of officers of Scottish Borders Council who are directly responsible to Scottish Borders Council and treat them in a way that engenders mutual respect at all times.
16 POLITICAL AFFILIATIONS
Whilst Community Councillors are free to have political affiliations, the Community Council itself is not a political body but exists to represent the interests of the whole community. Therefore, in participating in the business of the Community Council, the concern of Community Councillors must be to represent the interests of their community and not those of a particular political party or group.
17 PERSONAL CONDUCT
Community Councillors’ personal conduct should be such as not to bring the Council into disrepute. They should act courteously to fellow Community Councillors, Scottish Borders Council Elected Members and Officers, members of the public and other bodies.