Model Code of Conduct (Wales)

March 3rd, 2016 by James Goudie KC

Section 50(2) of the Local Government Act 2000 requires a Model Code to be issued by Order as regards the conduct which is expected of members, and co-opted members, of “relevant authorities” (as defined) in Wales. These are County Councils, County Borough Councils, Community Councils, Fire and Rescue Authorities and National Park Authorities.  There was duly made the Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) Order 2008, S.I. 2008/788 (W.82), (“the 2008 Order”).  The Schedule to the 2008 Order sets out such a Model Code of Conduct.

This is now amended by the Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2016, S.I. 2016/84 (W.38), (“the 2016 Order”), coming into force on 1 April 2016. The 2016 Order recites that the Welsh Ministers (i) have carried out the requisite consultation and (ii) are satisfied that the amendments are consistent with the principles specified in the Conduct of Members (Principles) (Wales) Order 2001, S.I. 2001/2276.

Article 2 of the 2016 Order amends the following paragraphs of the Model Code set out in the Schedule to the 2008 Order:

paragraph 1(1), by inserting a definition of “register of members’ interests”;

paragraph 1(2), by inserting a definition of “proper officer” and providing clarification with regard to references to Standards Committees in relation to a Community Council;

paragraph 3(a), by omitting the reference to police Authorities;

paragraph 6(1)(c), by removing the requirement for members to report potential breaches of their Code of Conduct to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales;

paragraphs 11(4), 15(2), 16(2) and 17, by transferring some functions from Monitoring Officers to the proper officers of Community Councils:

paragraph 12(2)(b)(iv), to reflect the new provisions contained in Part 8 of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 in relation to allowances and payments;

paragraph 14, by inserting new sub-paragraphs (2A) and (2B) which permit members to submit written submissions to a meeting which is dealing with a matter in respect of which a member has a prejudicial interest: written submissions are permitted only in those circumstances in which a member would otherwise be permitted to make oral representations to a meeting in relation to a matter, and if the member’s authority adopts a procedure for the submission of written submissions, members must comply with that procedure;

paragraph 15 is restated. The restatement clarifies that any interest disclosed, whether that interest is disclosed in accordance with paragraphs 11 or 15 of the Model Code, should be registered in the authority’s register of members’ interests, by giving notification to the Monitoring Officer, or, in relation to a Community Council, to the proper officer of that authority.

Article 2 of the Order omits paragraph 10(2)(b) of the Model Code set out in the Schedule to the 2008 Order. This clarifies that a member of a relevant authority is not to be regarded as having a personal interest in a matter when making, or participating in, decisions on behalf of the authority simply for the reason that the business being considered at the meeting affects that member’s ward.

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