Constitution and Code of Conduct

Part Seven of the Constitution: Codes of Conduct and policies etc. for the Council's members and officers

Part Seven contains codes and procedures for the Council's members and staff (which were not included in earlier parts). 

Members' Code of Conduct

The Localism Act 2011 amended the requirements with respect to an authority's Code of Conduct. 

In April 2021, the Council adopted a new Members' Code of Conduct dealing with conduct expected with its members when they are acting in their capacity as members (i.e. in an official capacity).

The Code is consistent with the Seven Principles of Public Life, namely: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

The Code includes provisions for registering and disclosing "disclosable pecuniary interests". 

Register of Members' Interests

Section 29 of the Localism Act 2011 requires the Council's Head of Legal and Democratic Services, in her role as Monitoring Officer, to establish and maintain a Register of Members' Interests, to make this available for inspection, and to publish the Register on the Council's website.

The Register of Interests for each of the Parish Councils within the Borough is also available.

The Localism Act 2011, via Regulations, created a special category of interests known as disclosable pecuniary interests.

  • A member must, within 28 days of becoming a member, notify the Monitoring Officer of any such interests that they, their spouse or civil partner they live with, have.
  • A member must also disclose a discloable pecunity interests of which they are aware at a meeting where any matter to be considered relates to that interest.
  • If the register isn't registered, or is subject to a pending notification, the member must notify the monitoring officer of the interest within 28 days  The member is then prohibited from participating in the discussion at the meeting or voting on any matter relating to their interest or, if acting alone, from taking any steps in relation to the issue unless they have a dispensation.

Criminal sanctions apply.

Complaints about Members' conduct

Changes brought about by the Localism Act 2011 mean that the Members' Code of Conduct now only applies to members when they are acting in their capacity as members (i.e. in an official capacity).

The Council has made arrangements to deal with complaints that the Code has been breached.

The Council no longer has a separate standards committee; instead the terms of reference of the Council's Accounts and Audit Committee have been amended to include powers to advise, assist and make arrangements with regard to member conduct issues.

The council currently has two Independent Persons: Mr I B Dearing and Ms M Nicholson.

The views of an Independent Person must be sought and taken into account by the Council before it makes its decision on an allegation that it has decided to investigate.

Members who have had an allegation made against them may, if they wish, seek the views of an Independent Person.

Key documents concerning Council Members and Staff

Other Council procedures

Register of Gifts and Hospitality

The Ribble Valley Borough Council maintains a Register of Gifts and Hospitality provided to staff and Members in connection with their employment by or election to the Council.

The Register of Members gifts and Hospitality is a record of all transactions with a value in excess of £50 and these are registered whether accepted or not.

The purpose of the Register is to ensure that members of the public can be satisfied that those employed by, or holding office with, Ribble Valley Borough Council do not use their official position to receive, agree, accept or attempt to obtain any payment or other consideration for doing, or not doing, anything or showing favour or disfavour to any person.

All staff and Members are informed that they should not receive benefits of any kind from a third party which might reasonably be seen to compromise their personal judgment and integrity.

Please note that details of the donee and donor will be available for public inspection (with the exception of certain circumstances).

The Council considers this to be necessary in the public interest, to maintain the trust of the residents it serves.