Amidst the implementation of the Belcarra Report, a Code of Conduct was legislated, the primary role of which is to highlight the behavioural standards expected of Councillors, including Mayors, when carrying out their roles as elected officials. The Code will take effect on 3 December 2018.
While the Code is founded on the Local Government Principles it is prefaced on what have been termed the “three R’s”, which detail the behavioural standards with which Councillors must comply:
- Responsibilities – carry out responsibilities in the best interests of the Council and the community;
- Respect – treat people, reasonably, justly, respectfully and in a non-discriminatory way;
- Reputation – Councillor conduct should not reflect poorly on the reputation of the Council.
The Code sets out several examples for the guidance of Councillors in complying with the Code under each behavioural standard.
A selection of the minimum expectations are as follows:
- Responsibilities :-
- Attend and participate meaningfully in all Council meetings;
- Comply with Council policies, procedures and resolution; and
- Report suspected wrongdoing.
- Respect :-
- Show respect to all;
- Do not act in a way actions could be perceived as derogatory;
- Reputation :-
- Where a Councillors opinion differs from the majority, acknowledge the Council decision represents the majority view;
- Public comments to be clearly stated to be on behalf of Council or personally;
- Behaviour and presentation appropriate to maintain the dignity of the office of the Councillor.
Failure to comply with the Code may see a Councillor subject to a raft of disciplinary action for the range of complaints that could be made including for unsuitable meeting conduct, inappropriate conduct, misconduct and corrupt conduct.
If you would like to discuss further the Code of Conduct, please contact us at Preston Law Cairns.