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CLERK'S BRIEFING NOTE

Code of Conduct

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1 This Briefing Note has been prepared following the Chairmanship Training day at Leeford Place on 10/06/08 because members believed that the advice given by Tim Ricketts on the Course was at variance with the methods adopted in Sedlescombe at meetings following declaration of prejudicial interests by councillors.
2 Sedlescombe PC has adopted Para 12(2) and has amended its Standing Orders in accordance with NALC Legal Briefing L11-07.  In accordance with Standards Board guidance, any prejudiced member “must not debate or vote on a regulatory or financial matter”.  They do, however have the same right to speak as a member of the public and, therefore, there are items on the agenda allowing the prejudiced councillors and then the public, at the discretion of the Chairman, to make representations, answer questions or give evidence relating to any business on the agenda. By adopting this procedure, there should be no reason to "adjourn a meeting" to allow debate.
3

I have corresponded with Tim Ricketts since the Course and this is his reply:

"I was quite careful with the code issue because there is a degree of differing interpretation nationally and I do remember saying "this is what we do" but you should take advice within your local area. Indeed I acknowledged that the process adopted in your neck of the woods is absolutely fine and correct. In Hurst, on the few occasions where it is necessary, we simply allow public participation ahead of an agenda item to enable councillors with prejudicial interests to speak nearer to the item rather than at the beginning of the meeting where the public part normally takes place. The councillor then has their say, perhaps fields questions from other councillors if they have important information to share, and then leaves the meeting. 

The specific issue you refer to was not raised yesterday. Had it been I would have added an extra caution as whenever finance is the issue, councillors must be very careful and ensure that they are not seen to influence the outcome of the debate."

 

  Mrs P Raymond
Clerk/RFO, Sedlescombe Parish Council
01424 870508
sedlescombe@freezone.co.uk
www.sedlescombe.org.uk
1 July 2008