Code of Conduct of Parish Councillors
Each local council must adopt and publicise a Code of Conduct that is in line with the Nolan principles – anybody who works as a public office holder ( and this includes all those who are elected or appointed to public office) should work with Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership. The code should deal with councillors’ obligations about their conduct including the registration and disclosure of their interests. Complaints about councillors’ conduct are dealt with by the principal authority (Cherwell D. C.).
Weston on the Green has adopted the Code of Conduct for that of Cherwell District Council – click Code of Conduct. All councillors, on election to office must sign a Declaration of Acceptance of Office in which they agree to follow the Code of Conduct.
Register of Interests (ROI) – as part of the above Code of Conduct, all councillors must Register their “Pecuniary Interests” and “Other Interests”. The ROI for each councillor click Register of Interests.
If there is an item on the Agenda of a Parish Council meeting in which a councillor has a pecuniary interest then he/she should declare it and not participate in any dicussion or vote on the matter and should leave the meeting. An item on the Agenda may also be declared to be of prejudicial interest if it is deemd that the member's judgement of the item under discussion is likely to be prejudiced. In such cases the councillor should leave the meeting immediately after making any representations or answering any questions. The Oxfordshire Monitoring Officers Group have produced an advice note on bias, predetermination and conflicts of interest and Bias guidance. The note contains advice and guidance for councillors and parish clerks. It does not form part of the code of conduct itself and does not need to be formally adopted.
Standing Orders – are the guidelines for operating a local council. They include rules of procedure laid down in legislation and additional regulations chosen by the council. Standing orders help the council to operate smoothly. For example, a third of the councillors (or three, whichever is the greater) must be present for the meeting to go ahead; this is known as the quorum. The council can set a higher quorum for committees through standing orders if it wishes. Other standing orders will determine, for example:
- the order of business
- the length of meetings and the duration of speaking time
- the schedule of meetings for the year
- delegation to committees and officers
- voting requirements
- procedures for public participation.
The Standing Orders for Weston on the Green Parish Council can be found here - they are due to be reviewed.
Powers of the Parish Council
Parish Councils have a wide range of powers which it can exercise although many are not appropriate for a village the size of Weston on the Green.
To see what some of these powers are and how or if they are exercised,follow this link: Powers of the Parish Council