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839 TITLE- GOVERNANCE SUB-TITLE- Elected Members Code of
8.39 TITLE:- GOVERNANCE SUB-TITLE:- Elected Members Code of Conduct PURPOSE This Code of Conduct sets out the principles of good conduct and standards of behaviour which are expected of the Elected Members of the District Council of Ceduna. It is built on shared values and is intended to help, not hinder, Elected Members in carrying out their civic and organisational activities. The role of an Elected Member is an onerous one. All Elected Members have obligations under the Local Government Act and other legislation which must be met. Section 58 of the Local Government Act 1999 states that: The role of a member of a council is. (a) as a member of the governing body of the council (i) to participate in the deliberations and civic activities of the council; (ii) to keep the council’s objectives and policies under review to ensure that they are appropriate and effective; (iii) to keep the council’s resource allocation, expenditure and activities, and the efficiency and effectiveness of its service delivery, under review; (b) as a person elected to the council to represent the interests of residents and ratepayers, to provide community leadership and guidance, and to facilitate communication between the community and the council There is a need for clear guidelines to support Elected Members in their role in day-to-day operations, interactions and decision making. The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to provide a guide to all Elected Members about what is expected of them. It is intended to assist when the question arises. What is the right thing to do? Elected Members will also be assisted by the lead Administration Policy and Procedures, in particular those Procedures that relate directly to Elected Members. Elected Members of the District Council of Ceduna are expected to behave in a way which conforms to the highest standards of integrity, responsibility and fair dealing in the workplace, the Council Chamber, in relations with the community and one another. This behaviour should be consistent with Council’s values which are: Proactive, forward thinking and visionary • We are united by our common purpose and shared goals • We are proactive rather than reactive • We are committed to our strategic plans Showing respect • We support tolerance and equal opportunity • We support and promote health and wellbeing • We value each other as individuals and recognise skills, commitment and achievement Transparent & consultative • We are transparent and consultative in the undertaking of our business Sustainable and accountable • We are open, honest and straightforward in our communication and behaviour • We are accessible, responsive and effective An innovative, well organised, safe and efficient team • We encourage innovation and aim for high standards in all that we do • We support each other and encourage teamwork and partnerships • We support a safe working environment • We strive for maximisation of organisational efficiencies Focussed on best practice • We encourage and pursue best practice Adherence to the Code of Conduct by all Elected Members creates a basis of trust and respect, which earns the confidence and support of our community. RESPONSIBILITIES It is expected that Elected Members should at all times: • adhere to occupational health safety and welfare legislation and policies; and • act properly and in accordance with the requirements of the law, relevant Council and Administration policies, plans, procedures and this Code; • ensure effective communication with the community, promoting participation and responding to expressed community needs; • encourage positive working relationships between individual Elected Members and between Elected Members and management/staff (this includes providing appropriate public support for other Elected Members and staff); • respect each other and the right to be heard, whatever the views. An open and respectful sharing of opinion assists considered and informed decision making; • ensure that matters are considered fairly, consistently and on their individual merit; • make decisions based on the best available information; • respect and publicly support Council decisions, irrespective of personal points of view, recognising that those decisions are made through an open and democratic process; • respect the rights and duty of staff to offer relevant and appropriate advice to Elected Members and members of the community; • not inappropriately interfere with administration or the organisational responsibilities of staff; • not attempt to delegate their official responsibilities or duties to family, friends or associates in the community; • respect confidentiality provisions for all matters and documents declared to be confidential; and • adhere to Council policies relating to harassment, bullying, equity and diversity. SKILL REQUIREMENTS AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT To successfully undertake the role of an Elected Member, a comprehensive set of skills and a sound knowledge base of the expectations of the role and of Council business activities are required. Council will provide appropriate opportunities to support Elected Members in developing and expanding necessary skills. RESPECT FOR COUNCIL DECISIONS Elected Members should accept that following fair and open debate a decision of Council is binding. This does not prevent a member from taking further action to have a decision amended or rescinded. An Elected Member must inform the Mayor and Chief Executive Officer if intending to oppose a binding decision in a public forum. WORKING RELATIONSHIPS Elected Members and employees will achieve the best outcomes for the community by working together as a team. In particular, it is essential, and in the best interests of the community, that Elected Members and employees work together to resolve problems. Elected Members and employees need to treat members of the community and each other with respect, courtesy and sensitivity and should, at all times, act reasonably, justly and in a non-discriminatory manner. The Local Government Act provides that outside of formal Council and any Committee meetings, the Mayor and Elected Members do not have any formal powers. In particular, individual Elected Members, either when representing Council on a committee or working party or in an individual capacity, cannot make operational decisions, direct staff or commit Council resources, human, physical or financial. Elected Members may however, exercise their rights as private residents of the district to approach Council staff in the same way that any other resident may, and will receive the same level of service. Requests by Elected Members for action to be taken or for information over and above that which is available to the general public must be made through the Chief Executive Officer, relevant Manager, or nominated specialist staff. These provisions do not, and are not intended, to otherwise restrict contact (for example social contact or other communications) between Elected Members and employees. Vexatious and malicious allegations or complaints made by Elected Members are considered unacceptable and may expose the Member to the risk of individual defamation proceedings. GENERAL DUTIES Sections 62 and 63 of the Local Government Act 1999 are specific provisions relating to conduct in the performance and discharge of official functions and duties, including the improper use of their position to gain advantage. Elected Members are directed to those provisions for clarification of their responsibilities. USE OF COUNCIL.S RESOURCES Section 78 of the Local Government Act 1999 relates to the provision and proper use of facilities and support provided to Elected Members by Council. CONFLICT OF INTEREST Sections 73-75 of the Local Government Act 1999 are specific provisions relating to Conflict of Interest. Elected Members are directed to those provisions for clarification of their responsibilities in relation to any potential conflict of interest. Elected Members must disclose conflicts of interest at the first relevant meeting. Any doubts in regard to possible conflicts should be referred to the Chief Executive Officer in the first instance. If the Chief Executive Officer is not able to assist, advice will be sought from Council’s solicitors. In general, Elected Members should not do anything which could not be lawfully justified to the public, and should avoid any behaviour which arouses a reasonable suspicion of improper conduct. CORRUPT AND UNETHICAL CONDUCT The organisation encourages openness and transparency in its management and in all dealings. An Elected Member who knows, or has good reason to suspect, any fraud, corrupt, criminal or unethical conduct must report it immediately to the Mayor or Chief Executive Officer, who will investigate the matter and report it to appropriate authorities if necessary. Any Elected Member who honestly and faithfully observes the requirements of this Code and any relevant law is entitled to expect the publicly expressed support of his or her council and colleagues against unfair allegations of dishonesty or unsatisfactory performance of his or her public duties. COMMUNICATION AND THE MEDIA Elected Members should be responsive to the concerns of the community, and communicate the views, decisions, policies and procedures of the Council in an open and honest manner. The Mayor and the Chief Executive Officer are authorised to speak publicly on behalf of the Council. All other Elected Members may speak publicly or to the media on behalf of the Council if they have been specifically authorised to do so by the Mayor. This provision does not and is not intended to curtail or restrict in any way the rights of Elected Members to express their personal views in public, as long as care is taken not to convey the impression that such views are made on behalf of the Council. No Elected Members may provide confidential information to the media, members of parliament or members of the public. ACCESS TO AND USE OF INFORMATION Elected Members often have access to, or are provided with, information that may need to be considered or treated confidentially. Such information should be handled in a careful and prudent manner, and the interests of the community must be balanced with the potential for damage if confidentiality is not maintained. Information should not be used or disclosed in a way that may: • cause significant damage or distress to a person • cause significant damage to the interests of Council or a person, or • confer a commercial or financial advantage on a person. Such a use is illegal. Elected Members may access any information which is considered to be public information. In addition, but subject to clearance by the Chief Executive Officer, Elected Members may access any confidential information that is relevant to a matter that is currently before Council. Information obtained in the course of Council business must not be used for any other purpose. This means that great care must be taken with information that Elected Members access in the course of Council business. Some information is highly confidential and should be discussed only with those who need to have such information. BEHAVIOUR CONTRARY TO THE CODE OF CONDUCT Information received from any party, which relates to an alleged breach of this Code must be referred to: • The Mayor in the case of an Elected Member • The Deputy Mayor in the case of the Mayor. Appropriate legal and other required support will be provided to the Mayor/Deputy Mayor during the initial assessment and investigation. Further action will be determined on a case-by-case basis by referring the matter to Council. ADOPTED: 18/04/07 REVIEWED: 16/4/08 Certified Copy by Chief Executive Officer or approved Delegate SIGNATURE: …………..……………………………….. DATE: ……./……./…….
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