Code of Conduct

Procedure 5.1.1 Version 6
Adopted 19 February 2019

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Introduction

This Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (“the Model Code of Conduct”) is made under section 440 of the Local Government Act 1993 (“LGA“) and the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 (“the Regulation”).

The Model Code of Conduct sets the minimum standards of conduct for council officials. It is prescribed by regulation to assist council officials to:

  • understand and comply with the standards of conduct that are expected of them
  • enable them to fulfil their statutory duty to act honestly and exercise a reasonable degree of care and diligence (section 439)
  • act in a way that enhances public confidence in local government.

Section 440 of the LGA requires every council (including county councils) and joint organisation to adopt a code of conduct that incorporates the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct. A council’s or joint organisation’s adopted code of conduct may also include provisions that supplement the Model Code of Conduct and that extend its application to persons that are not “council officials” for the purposes of the Model Code of Conduct (eg volunteers, contractors and members of wholly advisory committees).

A council’s or joint organisation’s adopted code of conduct has no effect to the extent that it is inconsistent with the Model Code of Conduct. However, a council’s or joint organisation’s adopted code of conduct may prescribe requirements that are more onerous than those prescribed in the Model Code of Conduct.

Councillors, administrators, members of staff of councils, delegates of councils, (including members of council committees that are delegates of a council) and any other person a council’s adopted code of conduct applies to, must comply with the applicable provisions of their council’s code of conduct. It is the personal responsibility of council officials to comply with the standards in the code and to regularly review their personal circumstances and conduct with this in mind.

Failure by a councillor to comply with the standards of conduct prescribed under this code constitutes misconduct for the purposes of the LGA. The LGA provides for a range of penalties that may be imposed on councillors for misconduct, including suspension or disqualification from civic office. A councillor who has been suspended on three or more occasions for misconduct is automatically disqualified from holding civic office for five years.

Failure by a member of staff to comply with a council’s code of conduct may give rise to disciplinary action.

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