SOME OF THE RULES COUNCILLORS AND OFFICERS IN LAMBETH MUST ABIDE BY
From the 2016-17 constitution of the London Borough of Lambeth: (Words in bold type highlighted by News From Crystal Palace)
2. Roles of councillors
c. to work cooperatively with the community on the co-design and co-development of council policy;
f. Councillors will not seek to involve themselves in the day-to-day management or operational activities of the council;
g. to represent the views of their ward constituents;
h. to be responsible to the electorate and to serve until their term of office expires;
m. Councillors must not do anything which compromises, or which is likely to compromise, the impartiality of officers or those who work on behalf of the council, other than in relation to officers employed in the political group offices;
o. Councillors must not bully officers or put them under undue pressure;
3. Roles of officers include:
f. to be and be seen to be politically impartial and act in a politically impartial way, other than in relation to officers employed in the political group offices;
g. officers are under a duty to help all councillors and all parts of the council equally;
h. officers must not set policy other than as may have been delegated under the scheme of delegation; and,
i. officers must not act or fail to act where this would be unlawful or illegal or which would be likely to amount to maladministration.
5. Officer relationships with party groups
With the exception of officers employed in the political group offices, all officers shall comply with the following:
a. meetings of political groups are essentially political forums and as such are not attended by officers;
b. officers may attend these meetings to provide briefings only with the express permission of the chief executive, strategic directors or directors and in such instances a similar briefing should be offered to all the political groups on the council;
e. officers cannot represent the views of a group to a council or outside body;
f. Councillors shall ensure they do not do anything which may compromise officer impartiality; and,
g. Members shall recognise that party groups are not empowered to make decisions on behalf of the council and that any conclusions reached by such groups will not be allowed to be actioned by officers.
8. Press Releases
All press releases should:
a. be issued through the council’s press officer;
b. be concerned with matters of policy and/or which relate to the council’s functions; and,
c. comply with the code of practice on local authority publicity. (follows – Ed.)
CODE OF RECOMMENDED PRACTICE ON LOCAL AUTHORITY PUBLICITY
Principles 4. Publicity by local authorities should:- • be lawful • be cost effective • be objective • be even-handed • be appropriate • have regard to equality and diversity • be issued with care during periods of heightened sensitivity
Objectivity 15. Local authorities should ensure that publicity relating to policies and proposals from central government is balanced and factually accurate. Such publicity may set out the local authority’s views and reasons for holding those views, but should avoid anything likely to be perceived by readers as constituting a political statement, or being a commentary on contentious areas of public policy.
16. Any publicity describing the council’s policies and aims should be as objective as possible, concentrating on the facts or explanation or both. Local authorities should not use public funds to mount publicity campaigns whose primary purpose is to persuade the public to hold a particular view on a question of policy. It is acceptable for local authority publicity to correct erroneous material which has been published by other parties, despite the fact that the material being corrected may have been published with the intention of influencing the public’s opinions about the policies of the authority. Such publicity should seek to explain the facts in an objective manner.
Even-handedness 19. Where local authority publicity addresses matters of political controversy it should seek to present the different positions in relation to the issue in question in a fair manner.
30. All local authority publicity should clearly and unambiguously identify itself as a product of the local authority. Printed material, including any newsletters, newssheets or similar publications published by the local authority, should do this on the front page of the publication.
SOURCES: Constitution 2015-16 of the London Borough of Lambeth Section 2 – Memorandum of Councillors’ Rights, Responsibilities and Officer Relationships 301 Annex A: Councillors’ rights of access to information page 302 Annex B: Protocol on councillor /officer relations page 303 &c
CODE OF RECOMMENDED PRACTICE ON LOCAL AUTHORITY PUBLICITY: Department for Communities and Local Government Communities and Local Government Circular 01/2011 Department for Communities and Local Government Eland House, Bressenden Place, London SWIE 5DU 31 March 2011
(Submitted for approval to council on 19 October 2016)