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Ethical Governance Framework
The Council has established a Standards Committee as part of its ethical framework. The aim is to promote high standards of conduct among elected councillors and co-opted members.
Council's Standards Committee
The Council's Standards Committee is made up of 6 elected members, 2 independent members (ie people who are not councillors or officers of the Council), and 2 parish councillors (who represent the 6 Parish Councils in the City).
Details of the current membership can be found on our Council Meetings page.
The Committee is chaired by one of the independent members (M. Scrimshaw) and the other independent member (W. Lawson) is a joint vice chair.
Its terms of reference are set out in the Newcastle Charter (Part 2, Article 9.03).
This year's scheduled meetings of the Committee are listed on our Council Meetings page.
The Council's Monitoring Officer is John Softly, Assistant Director Legal Services.
The role of the Monitoring Officer is described in the Newcastle Charter (Part 2, Article 13.03).
Nolan's Seven Principles of Public Life underpin the ethical framework. Those Principles are set out in Part 5.1A of the Newcastle Charter. They are also included in Annex 1 to the Code of Conduct.
Code of Conduct for Members and Local Protocols
The Council has adopted a Code of Conduct that regulates the conduct required of all elected members and voting co-optees. The Code defines the standards of conduct required of members in carrying out their duties, and in their relationships with the City Council and its officers.
The Council has also adopted various protocols as part of its ethical governance framework.
Each Parish Council has also adopted a code of conduct. The code of each Parish Council is available on request from the clerk of the relevant Parish Council and also on any website operated by the Parish Council. Details of the parish clerks can be found on the City Council's website.
Registration of Members' Interests
Under the Code of Conduct, Members have to register details of "Disclosable Pecuniary Interests" (defined in Regulations issued by the Government) and other interests (including the offer and receipt of gifts and hospitality) by giving written notice to the Monitoring Officer.
The Register is also available for inspection at the office of the Democratic Services Team Manager (via the City Community and Information Hub and Library) and online.
The Register for each Parish Council is also available for inspection, as above.
The Committee submits an annual report to full Council. The last report can be read here.
The Committee generally aims to take its annual report to full Council in September each year.
Members' Code of Conduct - Complaints Process
The Standards Committee has agreed a set of Arrangements for dealing with standards allegations against members under the Localism Act 2011. These Arrangements explain how you can make a complaint that an elected (or co-opted) member of the Council, or of a Parish Council in its area, has failed to comply with the relevant authority's Code of Conduct, and how the Council will deal with your complaint.
The Council is required to have such arrangements in place by section 28 of the Localism Act 2011. It is responsible for dealing with any complaint against a parish councillor in the city as well as complaints against its own members.
All complaints alleging that members have breached their Code of Conduct must be made to the Monitoring Officer who will decide whether it merits formal investigation.
This means that if you want to complain that a City Council member (or any parish councillor in the City) has breached the council's Code of Conduct for Members you will need to send your complaint to:
The Monitoring Officer
Newcastle City Council
Newcastle upon Tyne
Any complaint should be made using the complaint form which can be requested from the Council's Assistant Director Legal Services or Service Manager Democratic Services at the above address.
As part of the Arrangements, the Council has to appoint at least one Independent Person, whose views must be sought by the Council before it takes a decision on a complaint which is being investigated, and whose views may also be sought by the Council, or the member against whom the complaint has been made, at any stage in the process.
The Council has appointed two Independent Persons.
The Council's Standards Committee deals with all Parish Council standards business.
You can visit the Parish Councils pages for further information.
This guidance note is intended to supplement the Code of Conduct for members. It is based on a more detailed guidance note ("Connected councillors: A guide to using social media to support local leadership") produced by the Local Government Group. This short note has been approved by the Standards Committee.
Who to ask if you have a question
- John Softly (Monitoring Officer)
- Helen Wilson (Solicitor)
- Linda Scott (Service Manager Democratic Services)