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Members code of conduct

You are a member or co-opted member of Wiltshire Council and hence you shall have regard to the following principles:

  • Selflessness
  • Integrity
  • Objectivity
  • Accountability
  • Openness
  • Honesty
  • Leadership

You must promote and support high standards of conduct when serving in your public post, in particular as characterised by the following requirements, by leadership and example.

  • You must act solely in the public interest and should never improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person or act to gain financial or other material benefits for yourself, your family, a friend or close associate
  • You must not place yourself under a financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence you in the performance of your official duties
  • When carrying out your public duties you must make all choices, such as making public appointments, awarding contracts or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits, on merit
  • You are accountable for your decisions to the public and you must co-operate fully with whatever scrutiny is appropriate to your office
  • You must be as open as possible about your decisions and actions and the decisions and actions of your authority, and should be prepared to give reasons for those decisions and actions
  • You must declare any private interests, both pecuniary and non-pecuniary, that relate to your public duties, and must take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest, including registering and declaring interests in a manner conforming with the procedures set out below
  • You must, when using or authorising the use by others of the resources of your authority, ensure that such resources are not used improperly for political purposes (including party political purposes) and you must have regard to any applicable Local Authority Code of Publicity made under the Local Government Act 1986

Members of Wiltshire Council will have regard to the Roles and Responsibilities of Wiltshire Councillors according to Appendix 1 and Wiltshire Council Behaviours Framework at Appendix 2 

Appendix 2 can be found in the downloads section.

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  • You must, within 28 days of taking office as a member or co-opted member, notify your authority’s monitoring officer of any disclosable pecuniary interest as defined by regulations made by the Secretary of State, where the pecuniary interest is yours, your spouse’s or civil partner’s, or is the pecuniary interest of somebody with whom you are living as a husband of wife, or as if you were civil partners
  • In addition, you must, within 28 days of taking office as a member or co-opted member, notify your authority’s monitoring officer of any disclosable pecuniary or non- pecuniary interests which your authority has decided should be included in the register
  • If an interest has not been entered onto the authority’s register you must disclose the interest to any meeting of authority at which you are present, where you have a disclosable interest in any matter being considered and where the matter is not a sensitive interest
  • Following any disclosure of an interest which is not on the authority’s register or the subject of pending notification, you must notify the monitoring officer of the interest within 28 days beginning with the date of disclosure
  • Unless dispensation has been granted, you may not participate in any discussion of, vote on, or discharge any function related to any matter in which you have a pecuniary interest as defined by regulations made by the Secretary of State. Additionally, you must observe the restrictions your authority places on your involvement in matters where you have a pecuniary or non-pecuniary interest as defined by your authority
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Members code of conduct - Appendix 1

Role and responsibilities of Councillors

This is a description of the role that all councillors will be expected to perform.

Councillors may have additional regulatory, licensing or scrutiny responsibilities or be a member of the Cabinet – there will be specific role descriptions drawn up for them, and each of these responsibilities is likely to attract additional time commitments.

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The number of voters in each division will be in the order of 3,700; you will be accountable to them for any issue relating to the council’s activities and, through the area boards, for the much broader concerns of the community.

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In your division you will be responsible for resolving problems associated with, amongst other things:

  • Planning
  • Housing
  • Licensing
  • Environmental health
  • Car parking and enforcement
  • Protecting the environment
  • Leisure
  • Refuse collection and recycling
  • Community planning
  • Council tax collection
  • Housing benefit
  • Education
  • Social services
  • Libraries
  • Roads
  • Consumer protection
  • Children's services
  • Health scrunity
  • Transport Economic development
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Allowances to Councillors are as set out in Part 14 – Members’ Allowances Scheme.

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The time unitary councillors will need to carry out the role will depend on many things:

  • If you have a rural division, you will spend more time travelling
  • If you are a new councillor you will have to spend a lot of time being trained toenable you to carry out the role
  • If you have a particular interest you may choose to become more involved in committees associated with these matters
  • If there are important or controversial issues in your division they may occupy a lot of your time

National figures show that unitary councillors spend on average 27 hours a week on the role. There are formal meetings you will be expected to attend, but much of the work will be in your division when constituents contact you with a problem. The work includes:

  • Resolving problems raised by your constituents
  • Attending council and policy making meetings
  • Being a member of an area board
  • Attending Town and Parish council meetings in your division
  • Representing the council on outside bodies

Councillors who have additional regulatory, licensing or scrutiny responsibilities or who are on the Cabinet will be expected to work additional hours.

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Day time meetings at Trowbridge:

  • Attendance at council meetings eight times a year
  • Attendance at Cabinet, quasi judicial and regulatory meetings when items of interest to the division are under discussion
  • Approximately two meetings a month

Evening meetings within an area or on a district basis;

  • Attendance at monthly area boards
  • Attendance at planning committees and other regulatory committees when items of interest to your division are under discussion
  • Attendance at town and/or parish meetings
  • Attendance at meetings of outside bodies, some of these might be in the day
  • Approximately four meetings a month
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To champion your division

  • To represent your constituents and to act as the link between them and the council
  • To keep up-to-date with local concerns, including those of hard to reach groups
  • To identify and help to resolve local concerns

To be a community leader

  • To mediate fairly and constructively between people and groups with conflicting needs
  • To create effective partnerships with all sections of the community
  • To work with partners to build strong and cohesive communities with a long term vision and direction
  • Act as the focus for consultation and discussion of local issues

To keep in touch with constituents

  • To communicate regularly with the community using newsletters, emails, phone, or local media and through local surgeries and meetings
  • To create opportunities to communicate, including hard-to-reach groups
  • To provide regular feedback

To contribute to decision making 

  • By contributing to and informing debate at council meetings
  • Through membership of a community area board by:
  • Influencing and shaping services
  • Monitoring performance of local services to ensure that they are held to account
  • Providing for more effective working between the council and partners

To fulfil your responsibilities as a “corporate parent” for children and young people in the care of the local authority

  • By having an understanding of the profile and needs of the children in the care of the local authority
  • By being aware of the impact on looked-after children of all council decisions
  • By considering whether this would be good enough for your own child
  • By ensuring that action is taken to address shortcomings in the service and to
  • Improve outcomes for looked-after children
  • By being aware of the work and aims of the corporate parenting panel and, if nominated by your group leader, attend meetings of the corporate parenting panel as a committee member

The council has established a Corporate Parenting Panel, whose role is to secure councillor involvement and commitment throughout the council to deliver better outcomes for children and young people who are looked after. The terms of reference are available as an appendix to this section - Part 12.1 – Role and Function of the Corporate Parenting Panel. Please contact 01225 718024 to request this.

To represent the council externally

  • By sitting on outside bodies and attending seminars on behalf of the council.

Unitary councillors will be expected to

  • Commit to a programme of continuing learning and development provided by the council
  • Comply with the council’s code of conduct and other protocols set out within the Constitution and to maintain the highest standards of conduct and ethics in the performance of your duties
  • To acknowledge any enquiries normally within four working days of receipt, and provide a substantive response, where required, within ten working days, if possible
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To fulfil the role of an effective unitary councillor, candidates should have:

  • Knowledge of current issues for constituents
  • Good advocacy and listening skills
  • Good communication, presentation skills, mediation and conflict resolution skills
  • Integrity and the ability to set aside own views and act impartially
  • Good awareness of equality and diversity issues
  • An understanding of the roles of officers and councillors
  • Knowledge of meetings rules and conventions
  • The ability to challenge ideas and contribute positively to policy
  • A desire to learn
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In Members code of conduct

Last updated: 25 November 2016 | Last reviewed: 25 November 2016