(This note is not part of the Order)
The Order contains a model code of conduct as regards the conduct which is expected of members and co-opted members of parish councils. Under section 51 of the Local Government Act 2000, each authority must adopt a code of conduct applying to its members which must incorporate any mandatory provisions of the model code. Under section 51(5) of that Act, where an authority does not adopt such a code within six months of the Order coming into force, the mandatory provisions of the model code will apply to the members of the authority until it does.
Article 1 provides that this Order applies only to parish councils.
Article 2 provides that a model code for parish councils is set out in the Schedule to the Order, and states that all of its provisions are mandatory.
Article 3 makes transitional provision for eight months following the coming into force of the Order to disapply existing statutory provisions relating to the National Code of Local Government Conduct, members' interests, surcharge and declarations of office.
In the Schedule to the Order, paragraph 1 of the model code provides that the code applies whenever a member is acting in his official capacity, and that it does not apply in other circumstances unless otherwise indicated. Additionally, where a member is acting as a representative of his authority, he must continue to observe the authority's code, unless he is subject to another relevant authority's code, or unless (in relation to any other body) it conflicts with any other legal obligations.
Paragraph 2 provides that members must promote equality, treat others with respect and not do anything which compromises the impartiality of those who work for the authority.
Paragraph 3 provides that members must not without consent disclose confidential information they have acquired and must not prevent others from gaining access to information to which they are entitled.
Paragraph 4 provides that in a member's official capacity and in other circumstances, a member must not conduct himself in a manner which could bring his authority into disrepute.
Paragraph 5 provides that a member must not in his official capacity or in other circumstances use his position improperly to gain an advantage or confer a disadvantage and that when using or authorising the use of the authority's resources, he must act in accordance with the authority's requirements and must not permit those resources to be used for political purposes.
Paragraph 6 provides that a member must make a written allegation of misconduct to the Standards Board for England if he becomes aware of conduct by another member involving failure to comply with the authority's code of conduct.
Paragraph 7 provides that a member has a personal interest in a matter which has been registered or where a decision upon a matter could reasonably be regarded as affecting the well-being or financial position of those persons described in the paragraph.
Paragraph 8 provides that a member with a personal interest in a matter must disclose that interest at any meeting at which the matter is considered.
Paragraph 9 provides that a member with a personal interest also has a prejudicial interest if the interest could be regarded by a member of the public as so significant that it is likely to prejudice his judgement of the public interest. The paragraph provides that in the circumstances specified a member may regard himself as not having a prejudicial interest.
Paragraph 10 provides that a member with a prejudicial interest must, unless he has obtained a dispensation, withdraw from any meetings at which the matter is being considered, and must not improperly influence decisions in relation to the matter.
Paragraph 11 defines “meeting“ for the purposes of Part 3.
Paragraph 12 provides that a member must notify the responsible authority's monitoring officer of the financial interests specified in the paragraph and paragraph 13 provides that he must notify the responsible authority's monitoring officer of the other interests specified in the paragraph. Any change to those interests must also be notified under paragraph 14.
Paragraph 15 provides that a member must notify the responsible authority's monitoring officer of any gift or hospitality he receives which may be over the value of £25.