Input Sought on Code of Conduct for Local Governments

The Working Group on Responsible Conduct (Working Group) is seeking feedback on   local government experiences with codes of conduct. The Working Group also invites input to guide the development of a code of conduct framework for B.C.’s local government system, including processes for establishing, adopting, maintaining and enforcing a code of conduct.

British Columbia has a strong tradition of accountable, responsible and effective leadership by local elected leaders. We also know that when there are breaches of conduct by elected officials, significant impacts result.

In response to a resolution at the 2016 Convention, the Working Group  - comprised of staff from UBCM, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Local Government Management Association (LGMA) - has been exploring ways in which the practice of responsible conduct by local elected officials can be strengthened.

Following the release of a set of foundational principles and a model code of conduct, the Working Group is now turning its attention to the framework that supports a code of conduct.

The key components of a code of conduct framework include processes for establishing, adopting, maintaining and enforcing the code of conduct. The Working Group is looking for your views on the balance between standardized rules and local flexibility if local codes of conduct were to be mandatory in legislation in B.C.

The Working Group has found that provinces with enforcement provisions also have legislation that requires local governments to adopt a code of conduct. As a result, local governments lose the choice about whether or not to adopt a code of conduct, but gain an enhanced ability to enforce the code of conduct. The survey will seek views on making a code of conduct mandatory for all local governments.

The survey will also explore a range of other questions in relation to enforcement, including how complaints should be managed; how breaches might be investigated; and what an acceptable range of penalties might look like.

The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and is open to individual local government elected officials and Chief Administrative Officers and Corporate Officers. CAOs and CCOs are asked to convey the link to the survey to all Council and Board members. The LGMA will do a separate distribution of the survey to its members.

The deadline for completion is end of day May 15, 2019. If you have questions with regard to the survey, please contact Paul Taylor, UBCM Director of Communications at (250) 356-2938.

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