Local Government Bill [H.L.] - continued        House of Lords

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  PART III
  CONDUCT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT MEMBERS AND EMPLOYEES
 
Conduct of members
Principles governing conduct of members of relevant authorities.     44. - (1) The Secretary of State may by order specify the principles which are to govern the conduct of members and co-opted members of relevant authorities in England.
 
      (2) The National Assembly for Wales may by order specify the principles which are to govern the conduct of members and co-opted members of relevant authorities in Wales.
 
      (3) Before making an order under this section, the Secretary of State must consult-
 
 
    (a) such representatives of local government in England as he considers appropriate,
 
    (b) the Audit Commission,
 
    (c) the Commission for Local Administration in England, and
 
    (d) such other persons (if any) as he considers appropriate.
      (4) Before making an order under this section, the National Assembly for Wales must consult-
 
 
    (a) such representatives of local government in Wales as it considers appropriate,
 
    (b) the Audit Commission,
 
    (c) the Commission for Local Administration in Wales, and
 
    (d) such other persons (if any) as it considers appropriate.
      (5) In this Part "relevant authority" means-
 
 
    (a) a county council,
 
    (b) a county borough council,
 
    (c) a district council,
 
    (d) a London borough council,
 
    (e) a parish council,
 
    (f) a community council,
 
    (g) the Greater London Authority,
 
    (h) the Common Council of the City of London in its capacity as a local authority or police authority,
 
    (i) the Council of the Isles of Scilly,
 
    (j) a fire authority constituted by a combination scheme under the Fire Services Act 1947,
 
    (k) a police authority established under section 3 of the Police Act 1996,
 
    (l) a joint authority established by Part IV of the Local Government Act 1985,
 
    (m) the Broads Authority, or
 
    (n) a National Park authority established under section 63 of the Environment Act 1995.
      (6) In this Part "co-opted member", in relation to a relevant authority, means a person who is not a member of the authority but who-
 
 
    (a) is a member of any committee or sub-committee of the authority, or
 
    (b) is a member of, and represents the authority on, any joint committee or joint sub-committee of the authority,
  and who is entitled to vote on any question which falls to be decided at any meeting of that committee or sub-committee.
 
Model code of conduct.     45. - (1) The Secretary of State may by order issue a model code as regards the conduct which is expected of members and co-opted members of relevant authorities in England (referred to in this Part as a model code).
 
      (2) The National Assembly for Wales may by order issue a model code as regards the conduct which is expected of members and co-opted members of relevant authorities in Wales (also referred to in this Part as a model code).
 
      (3) A model code-
 
 
    (a) must be consistent with the principles for the time being specified in an order under section 44(1) or 44(2) (as the case may be),
 
    (b) may include provisions which are mandatory, and
 
    (c) may include provisions which are optional.
      (4) Before making an order under this section, the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales must carry out such consultation as is required, by virtue of section 44(3) or 44(4) (as the case may be), before an order is made under section 44.
 
      (5) For the purpose of facilitating the making of an order under this section-
 
 
    (a) the Secretary of State may invite such representative of local government in England as he considers appropriate to draw up, and send to him, a proposed model code, and
 
    (b) the National Assembly for Wales may invite the Partnership Council to draw up, and send to it, a proposed model code.
      (6) An invitation under subsection (5)-
 
 
    (a) must be made in writing,
 
    (b) must specify the period within which the code is to be drawn up and sent to the Secretary of State or National Assembly for Wales (as the case may be),
 
    (c) may require different codes, or different provisions of a code, to be drawn up for different authorities or descriptions of authority, and
 
    (d) may require the representative concerned or the Partnership Council (as the case may be) to consult such persons as may be specified in the invitation.
      (7) In this section "the Partnership Council" has the meaning given by section 113(2) of the Government of Wales Act 1998.
 
Duty of relevant authorities to adopt codes of conduct.     46. - (1) It is the duty of each relevant authority, before the end of the period of six months beginning with the day on which an order under section 45 which applies to them is made, to pass a resolution-
 
 
    (a) adopting a code as regards the conduct which is expected of members and co-opted members of the authority (referred to in this Part as a code of conduct), or
 
    (b) revising their existing code of conduct under this section.
      (2) A relevant authority may by resolution revise their existing code of conduct under this section.
 
      (3) A code of conduct or revised code of conduct-
 
 
    (a) must incorporate any mandatory provisions of the model code which for the time being applies to that authority,
 
    (b) may incorporate any optional provisions of that model code, and
 
    (c) may include other provisions which are consistent with that model code.
      (4) Where a relevant authority fail to comply with the duty in subsection (1) before the end of the period mentioned in that subsection-
 
 
    (a) they must comply with that duty as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of that period, and
 
    (b) any mandatory provisions of the model code which for the time being applies to the authority are to apply in relation to the members and co-opted members of the authority for so long as the authority fail to comply with that duty.
      (5) As soon as reasonably practicable after adopting or revising a code of conduct under this section, a relevant authority must-
 
 
    (a) ensure that copies of the code or revised code are available at their principal office for inspection by members of the public at all reasonable hours,
 
    (b) publish in one or more newspapers circulating in their area a notice which-
 
      (i) states that they have adopted or revised a code of conduct,
 
      (ii) states that copies of the code or revised code are available at their principal office for inspection by members of the public at such times as may be specified in the notice, and
 
      (iii) specifies the address of their principal office, and
 
    (c) send a copy of the code or revised code-
 
      (i) in the case of a relevant authority in England, to the Standards Board for England, or
 
      (ii) in the case of a relevant authority in Wales, to the Standards Board for Wales.
      (6) A relevant authority may publicise their adoption or revision of a code of conduct under this section in any other manner that they consider appropriate.
 
      (7) The duty in subsection (1)(b) does not apply to a relevant authority if their existing code of conduct under this section is consistent with the model code which for the time being applies to them.
 
      (8) A relevant authority's function with respect to the passing of a resolution under this section may be discharged only by the authority.
 
      (9) Any reference in this section to the revision of a code of conduct includes a reference to the adoption of a different code of conduct in its place.
 
Duty to comply with code of conduct.     47. - (1) The form of declaration of acceptance of office which may be prescribed by an order under section 83 of the Local Government Act 1972 may include an undertaking by the declarant that in performing his functions he will observe the authority's existing code of conduct under section 46.
 
      (2) Where a relevant authority to which section 83 of that Act applies adopts or revises a code of conduct under section 46 after a member of the authority has made a declaration of acceptance of office under section 83-
 
 
    (a) he must, before the end of the period of two months beginning with the date on which the code of conduct is adopted or revised, give to the authority a written undertaking that in performing his functions he will observe the code or revised code, and
 
    (b) if he fails to do so, his office is to become vacant at the end of that period.
      (3) A person elected as a member of a relevant authority to which section 83 of that Act does not apply may not act in that office unless he has given the authority a written undertaking that in performing his functions he will observe the authority's existing code of conduct under section 46.
 
      (4) Where a relevant authority to which section 83 of that Act does not apply adopts or revises a code of conduct under section 46 after a member of the authority has begun to act in that office-
 
 
    (a) he must, before the end of the period of two months beginning with the date on which the code of conduct is adopted or revised, give to the authority a written undertaking that in performing his functions he will observe the code or revised code, and
 
    (b) if he fails to do so, his office is to become vacant at the end of that period.
      (5) Any person appointed as a co-opted member of a relevant authority may not act as such unless he has given the authority a written undertaking that in performing his functions he will observe the authority's existing code of conduct under section 46.
 
      (6) Where a relevant authority adopts or revises a code of conduct under section 46 after a co-opted member of the authority has begun to act as such-
 
 
    (a) he must, before the end of the period of two months beginning with the date on which the code of conduct is adopted or revised, give to the authority a written undertaking that in performing his functions he will observe the code or revised code, and
 
    (b) if he fails to do so, he is to cease to be a co-opted member of the authority at the end of that period.
      (7) In a case where section 46(4) applies-
 
 
    (a) any reference in this section to observing a code of conduct is a reference to observing the mandatory provisions mentioned in section 46(4)(b),
 
    (b) any reference in this section to a relevant authority adopting or revising a code of conduct under section 46 is a reference to the application of those mandatory provisions in relation to the members and co-opted members of a relevant authority, and
 
    (c) any reference in this section to the date on which a code of conduct is adopted or revised is a reference to the date on which those mandatory provisions first apply in relation to the members and co-opted members of a relevant authority.
      (8) Section 46(9) applies for the purposes of this section as it applies for the purpose of that section.
 
 
Standards committees
Standards committees.     48. - (1) Subject to subsection (2), every relevant authority must establish a committee (referred to in this Part as a standards committee) which is to have the functions conferred on it by or under this Part.
 
      (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a parish council or community council.
 
      (3) The number of members of a standards committee of a relevant authority and their terms of office are to be fixed by the authority (subject to any provision made by virtue of subsection (6)(a) or (7)(a)).
 
      (4) A standards committee of a relevant authority must include-
 
 
    (a) at least two members of the authority, and
 
    (b) at least one person who is not a member, or an officer, of that or any other relevant authority.
      (5) A standards committee of a relevant authority which is operating executive arrangements-
 
 
    (a) may not include the elected mayor or executive leader, and
 
    (b) may not be chaired by a member of the executive.
      (6) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision-
 
 
    (a) as to the size and composition of standards committees of relevant authorities in England,
 
    (b) as to the appointment to such committees of persons falling within subsection (4)(b), and
 
    (c) as to the proceedings and validity of proceedings of such committees.
      (7) The National Assembly for Wales may by regulations make provision-
 
 
    (a) as to the size and composition of standards committees of relevant authorities in Wales,
 
    (b) as to the appointment to such committees of persons falling within subsection (4)(b), and
 
    (c) as to the proceedings and validity of proceedings of such committees.
      (8) The Standards Board for England-
 
 
    (a) may issue guidance with respect to the size and composition of standards committees of local authorities in England, and
 
    (b) must send a copy of any such guidance to the Secretary of State.
      (9) The Standards Board for Wales-
 
 
    (a) may issue guidance with respect to the size and composition of standards committees of local authorities in Wales, and
 
    (b) must send a copy of any such guidance to the National Assembly for Wales.
      (10) A member of a standards committee of a relevant authority who is not a member of the authority is entitled to vote at meetings of the committee.
 
      (11) A relevant authority must send a statement which sets out the terms of reference, or any revised terms of reference, of their standards committee-
 
 
    (a) to the Standards Board for England (where the authority is in England), or
 
    (b) to the Standards Board for Wales (where the authority is in Wales).
      (12) A standards committee of a relevant authority is not to be regarded as a body to which section 15 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (duty to allocate seats to political groups) applies.
 
 
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