Responsible Conduct Policy Paper Endorsed

Delegates endorsed a policy paper Thursday that outlines an approach to strengthening the framework for responsible conduct by local government elected officials in B.C. UBCM’s Executive will follow up with Minister Selina Robinson to ascertain the provincial response to the approach contained in the policy paper.

The policy paper recommendations are as follows:

a)     As a first priority, articulate foundational principles of responsible conduct (e.g. honesty; integrity), and embed these in relevant education materials available province-wide for general local elections starting in 2018;

b)     Enhance existing guidance materials to illustrate how foundational principles of responsible conduct can be embedded in local government bylaws and policies (e.g. procedure bylaws, oaths of office);

c)     Develop new responsible conduct guidance materials including a model code of conduct and other materials that articulate principles, expectations, and good practices of responsible conduct;

d)     Continue the policy and detailed design work needed to develop information and advice on an integrated and effective responsible conduct framework appropriate to B.C., including:

  • Assess the feasibility of including foundational principles in the “default” oath of office established by regulation (considerations include scope of authority and timing);
  • Develop and make available a list of resources for elected officials who are facing challenging situations due to less-than-responsible conduct;
  • Consider the design components of a model for providing resources that would support fact-finding and assessing challenging relationships/circumstances faced by a council/board due to less-than-responsible conduct and could provide guidance on approaches to help the council/board move forward (considerations include expertise needed, cost, and triggers for involvement);

e)     Develop policy options related to codes of conduct with respect to:

  • The content of the code of conduct and processes for developing and reviewing the code. Developing the design components will help determine whether a mandatory code of conduct should be considered over a voluntary approach;
  • The design components of a model for evaluating and making determinations about alleged breaches of a code of conduct. The goal is an integrated model with appropriate linkages between establishing and applying conduct standards, and evaluating, investigating and deciding on breaches of the code;
  • A range of sanctions that could make up a spectrum of penalties for breaching a code of conduct. Considerations would include linkages of penalties with establishing/applying standards of conduct and investigating/deciding on breaches; and

f)     Develop practical actions for implementing these recommendations, including considerations of timing, sequencing, and resources.

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