Council is considering changes to its Code of Conduct. The new Model Code consolidates all ethical standards for local government into a single document resulting in a better understanding of compliance with ethical standards. It will allow pecuniary interest breaches by councillors to be treated as ‘misconduct’ and afford greater flexibility and efficiency by allowing amendments to be made by way of Regulation amendments.
In adopting a new code of conduct and procedures, Council may include provisions that are supplementary to those contained in the Model Code of Conduct and Procedures. These requirements may be more onerous than those prescribed under the Model Code of Conduct. However Council must not dilute the standards prescribed under the Model Code in the adopted code of conduct.
The draft WCC Code of Conduct incorporates the mandated provisions of the Model Code not in our current code or policies. It also contains the inclusion of supplementary clauses from existing council policies and those regarded as best practice provisions.
New mandated standards relate to discrimination and harassment, bullying, work health and safety, behaviour at meetings, access to information and maintenance of Council records. They also contain new rules governing acceptance of gifts including mandatory reporting and ongoing disclosure requirements for councillors and staff.
Supplementary provisions recommended by the draft Code of Conduct include standards relating to fraud and corruption prevention and internet access and use of social media provisions. The draft also includes clauses / wording from existing council policies.