Ethical standards in public life - model code of conduct for board members: consultation analysis

An analysis of responses to the consultation on current proposals for a revised Model Code of Conduct for members of devolved public bodies.

Final comments on the Model Code

Question 12: Do you have any other comments on the proposed revisions to the Model Code?

Seventeen respondents (38%) provided final comments on the revisions to the Model Code, while 28 (62%) did not. A few respondents ended by re-emphasising that they felt the revised Model Code is clear, simple and easy to follow. For example, we heard that:

“The existing Model Code has been clarified and is easier to understand. The main concepts and principles of the Model Code remain unchanged, with an emphasis on good practice and they should not be a burden for compliance…. The proposed changes are welcomed.”

Other examples of positive, final reflections from respondents included that the use of the first person underlines the importance of individual responsibility in understanding and complying with the Model Code, and that the inclusion of content relating to social media is an important addition.

Several respondents ended the consultation by expressing their views on areas where the Model Code could be strengthened. However, there was no clear consensus and a range of views were expressed, many of which have been highlighted previously in this report. For example, respondents felt that the Model Code:

  • could do more to encourage greater diversity in public appointments – it was felt that the Model Code “is still some way from acting as a roadmap” for fostering greater equality, diversity and inclusion;
  • should maintain the current practice of recording gifts and hospitality;
  • should provide greater clarity on when an individual is perceived to be acting as a board member;
  • should better-emphasise the need for continued professional development for board members;
  • must take cognisance of the different legal and constitutional and membership arrangements relating to Integration Joint Boards;
  • should distinguish clearly between mandatory and optional provisions, enabling Integration Joint Boards to opt out of any provisions which may be irrelevant and/or inappropriate for them – for example, the provisions in Paragraphs 1.9 and 1.10.

One respondent provided practical guidance for those involved in revising the Model Code, stating that:

“[We should] be very careful if making changes [to the Code] which make roles unworkable in practice when working with stakeholders. So much really good useful information and experience should be shared carefully to improve all the work that public sector bodies do.”



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