Section 6: Lobbying And Access
6.1 I understand that a wide range of people will seek access to me as a councillor and will try to lobby me, including individuals, organisations, companies and developers. I must distinguish between:
a) my representative role in dealing with constituent enquiries;
b) any community engagement where I am working with individuals and organisations to encourage their participation and involvement; and
c) lobbying, which is where I am approached by any individual or organisation who is seeking to influence me for financial gain or advantage, particularly those who are seeking to do business with my council (for example contracts/procurement) or who are applying for a consent from my council.
6.2 I will comply with data protection legislation, which includes keeping the personal information of any constituent secure and only, in general, using it for the purpose of assisting with the enquiry. I will seek the constituent’s consent in advance if I am in a multi-member ward and feel it is more appropriate for another councillor to handle the enquiry. I note that there may be circumstances in which it is best not to respond to a constituent, and that I am not obliged by the Code to respond to every contact.
6.3 I will undertake such work in an open and transparent manner. I will not express an opinion on a quasi-judicial or regulatory application that I might later be asked to determine. I accept that if I do express such an opinion, I will have to declare an interest and will not be able to take part in the decision-making.
6.4 In deciding whether, and if so how, to respond to such lobbying, I will always have regard to the objective test, which is whether a member of the public, with knowledge of the relevant facts, would reasonably regard my conduct as being likely to influence my, or my council’s, decisions.
Lobbying in Quasi-judicial or Regulatory Matters
6.5 If I am approached directly by an individual or organisation who is seeking to do business with my council or who is involved in a quasi-judicial or regulatory matter (such as an applicant or an objector),
a) have regard to Section 7 of this Code;
b) advise that individual or organisation that I cannot formulate an opinion or support their position if I am going to take part in the decision-making on the matter; and
c) direct any representations I receive to the appropriate council employee or department.
I Will Not:
d) lobby or otherwise exert pressure or influence on employees, other councillors, or members of a quasi-judicial or regulatory committee, to recommend or make a specific decision in respect of a quasi-judicial or regulatory matter. I understand that I am entitled to seek information from employees but that I must not lobby them, to either make or recommend a particular decision.
e) use political group meetings to decide how I and other councillors should vote on such matters or on individual staffing issues, such as the appointment or discipline of an employee.
f) comply with political group decisions on such matters if these differ from my own views.
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