Section 49: Principles governing conduct of members of relevant authorities
113.Section 49(1) and (2) of the Act provides the Secretary of State in England and the NAW in Wales with a power to develop a set of general principles of conduct, which will apply to all authorities covered by the new ethical framework. The general principles are intended to provide a guide for councillors’ behaviour in the execution of their duties and will underpin the model code of conduct under section 50 that these authorities will adopt for their members. The general principles will also be subject to approval by Parliament in respect of England, by affirmative resolution of both Houses, before the Secretary of State can introduce them. In Wales, the general principles of conduct will be subject to approval by a resolution of the NAW.
114.Section 49(3), (4) and (5) places a duty on the Secretary of State and the NAW to consult various bodies in developing the general principles of conduct. These include representatives of relevant authorities, the Audit Commission and the Commissions for Local Administration in England and Wales (the local government Ombudsmen).
115.Section 49(6) sets out the relevant authorities in England and Wales whose members’ conduct are to be governed by the general principles of conduct. Police authorities in Wales will be governed by the English general principles because policing is a non-devolved matter.
116.Section 49(7) provides a definition of a co-opted member. The new ethical framework applies equally to all those voting members of a relevant authority, whether they have been elected to the authority or appointed to it. Hereafter in these notes, the term member should be taken to include co-opted members unless otherwise stated.