Model code of conduct for members of devolved public bodies: consultation

This consultation presents proposals which will bring about important amendments to the Model Code of Conduct for Members of devolved public bodies since it was last reviewed in 2014.

Section 3: General Conduct

Respect and Courtesy

3.1 I will treat everyone with courtesy and respect. This can include in person, in writing, when at meetings, when I am representing my public body and when I am online using social media.

3.2 I will not discriminate unlawfully on the basis of race, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, disability, religion or belief, marital status or pregnancy/maternity; I will advance equality of opportunity; and will seek to foster good relations between different people.

3.3 I accept that disrespect, bullying and harassment can be a one-off incident, part of a cumulative course of conduct, or a pattern of behaviour. I understand that how, and in what context, I exhibit certain behaviours can be as important as what I communicate, given that disrespect, bullying and harassment can be physical, verbal and non-verbal conduct.

3.4 I accept that it is my responsibility to understand what constitutes bullying and harassment (including sexual harassment) and I will utilise resources, including the Standards Commission’s guidance and advice notes, my public body’s policies and training material (where appropriate) to ensure that my knowledge and understanding is up to date.

3.5 I will not engage in any conduct that could amount to bullying or   harassment (including sexual harassment).  I accept that such conduct is completely unacceptable and will be considered to be a breach of this Code.

3.6 Except where it is written into my role as Board member, I will not become involved in operational management of my public body. I acknowledge and understand that operational management is the responsibility of the Chief Executive and Executive Team.

3.7 I will not undermine any individual employee or group of employees, or raise concerns about their performance, conduct or capability in public. I will raise any concerns I have on such matters in private with senior management as appropriate.

3.8 I will not take, or seek to take, unfair advantage of my position in my dealings with employees of my public body or bring any undue influence to bear on employees to take certain action. I will avoid asking or directing employees to do something which could compromise them or prevent them from undertaking their duties properly and appropriately.

3.9 I will respect and comply with rulings from the Chair during meetings of:

(a) my public body, its committees and

(b) any outside organisations that I have been appointed or nominated   to by my public body or on which I represent my public body.

3.10 I will respect the principle of collective decision-making and corporate   responsibility. This means that once the Board has made a decision, I will support that decision, even if I did not agree with it or vote for it.

Remuneration, Allowances and Expenses

3.11 I will comply with the rules, and the policies of my public body, on the payment of remuneration, allowances and expenses.

Gifts and Hospitality

3.12 I will never ask for any gifts or hospitality including money raised via crowdfunding or sponsorship, material benefits or services.

3.13 I will never accept any gifts or hospitality which might place me, or which would reasonably be regarded by a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts

(a) as placing me, under an improper obligation or

(b) which might influence, or might reasonably appear to influence, my judgement.

3.14 I will consider whether there could be a reasonable perception that any gift or hospitality received by a person or body connected to me could or would influence my judgement.

3.15 I will not allow the promise of money or other financial advantage to induce me to perform improperly any function while acting as a member of my public body. I accept that the money or advantage (including gifts or hospitality) does not have to be given to me. The offer of monies to others may amount to bribery, if the intention is to induce me to perform a function improperly.

3.16 I will never accept any gifts or hospitality from any individual who is seeking to do business with my public body.

3.17 I will refuse any gifts offered unless it is:

(a) a minor item or token of modest intrinsic value offered on an infrequent basis; or

(b) a gift being offered to my public body.

3.18 If I consider that declining an offer of a gift would cause offence, I will accept it and hand it over to my public body at the earliest possible opportunity and ask for it to be registered.

3.19 I will refuse any hospitality offered other than that which would normally be associated with my duties as a board member.

3.20 I will advise my public body’s Standards Officer if I am offered (but refuse) any gifts or hospitality of any significant value and / or if I am offered any gifts or hospitality from the same source on a repeated basis, so that my public body can monitor this.

3.21 I will familiarise myself  with the terms of the Bribery Act 2010, which provides for offences of bribing another person and offences relating to being bribed.


3.22 I will not disclose confidential information or information which should reasonably be regarded as being of a confidential or private nature, without the express consent of a person authorised to give such consent, or unless required to do so by law. I note that if I cannot obtain consent, I should assume it is not given.

3.23 I accept that confidential information can include discussions, documents, and information (electronic or otherwise) which is not yet public or never intended to be public.

3.24 I will only use confidential information to undertake my duties as a board member. I will not use it in any way for personal advantage or to discredit my public body (even if my personal view is that the information should be publicly available).

Dealings with and Responsibilities to my Public Body

3.25 I will only use my public body’s resources, including employee assistance, facilities, stationery and IT equipment for carrying out duties on behalf of the public body, in accordance with its relevant policies.

3.26 I will not use, or in any way enable others to use, my public body’s resources:

(a) imprudently (without thinking about the implications or consequences);

(b) unlawfully;

(c) for any political activities or matters relating to these; or

(d) improperly for private purposes.

3.27 I will avoid any action which could lead members of the public to believe that preferential treatment or access is being sought.

Appointments to Outside Organisations

3.28 If I am appointed, or nominated by my public body, as a member of another public body or organisation, I will abide by their rules of conduct and will act in its best interests while acting as a member of it. I will also continue to observe the rules of my public body’s Code of Conduct in carrying out the duties of that body or organisation.

3.29 I accept that if I am a director of a company or registered charity, as a board member of a devolved public body, I will be responsible for identifying, and taking advice on, any conflict of interest that may arise between the company or registered charity and my public body.



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