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WELCOME FOR NEW PROPOSALS ON STAFF CODE OF CONDUCT

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Under new proposals launched by the government (see ...
Under new proposals launched by the government (see LGCnet), local authority employees will be bound by a statutory code of conduct.

Council employees will be under a duty to behave professionally and to treat others with respect. Also covered by the proposed code are standards, proper stewardship of public money, political neutrality, openness, conflict of interests, fairness in the appointment of staff and declaration of hospitality and gifts.

In addition, where staff blow the whistle on bad practices they will gain further protection from victimisation under the code. The planned code closely mirrors the existing one for councillors.

EO executive director Rob Pinkham said: 'The proposed code is not a million miles away from the current EO voluntary code for employees produced in 1994. In fact, it forms the basis for the development of the statutory Employees' Code.'

'At the last count, a table of figures provided by the EO to the Nolan enquiry in 1997, showed that 90% of councils in England and Wales have either adopted the voluntary code or developed their own. Where councils adopt the code locally it forms part of an employee's contract of employment. Therefore, a statutory requirement for such a code to be 'deemed' into contracts will by and large reflect what is already happening on the ground.'

'What the proposed code is seeking to establish, along with the councillors' code, is a common core of fundamental values to underpin standards of conduct in local government.'

Councils are being asked to respond to the proposals by 19 November.

The EO is co-ordinating a local government response to the proposals. The Consultation Papers are available to view/download from the ODPM website.

Notes

The Employers' Organisation for local government was established in April 1999 by the Local Government Association. The EO's role is to support local authorities by providing expert advice and leading the formulation of employers' policies on people management and development in local government.

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