Search

Code of conduct meeting debate over councillors getting ‘very drunk’ in town

PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 July 2020

Councillors have debated whether getting “very drunk in the town centre on a Saturday night” risks bringing the authority into disrepute. Photo: YouTube

Councillors have debated whether getting “very drunk in the town centre on a Saturday night” risks bringing the authority into disrepute. Photo: YouTube

Archant

Councillors have debated whether getting “very drunk in the town centre on a Saturday night” risks bringing the authority into disrepute.

Norfolk county councillors have called for more clarity from the Local Government Association (LGA) about the extent to which behaviour in elected members’ personal lives could “have an adverse impact on your council”.

The comments were made during a discussion at Norfolk County Council’s standards committee of a new draft code of conduct circulated by the LGA.

It came after a report published ahead of the Monday, July 27, meeting revealed councillors had called for the code to include a portion of the county’s council’s own code of conduct, which officers said was “considered to be an unhelpful and confusing part”.

READ MORE: REVEALED: ‘Sexism’, trespassing and bias - the complaints about Norwich councillors

The wording - “championing the needs of residents... and in a special way all my constituents” - was described as “very unclear.”

And officers also called for the code to better address members who “consume disproportionate officer time”, “harass junior officers” and “deal with casual sexism, including probing questions about child care and assuming the male officer present is the more senior”.

You may also want to watch:

During the meeting, councillors discussed a draft item, which stated “as a councillor I commit to not bringing my role or council into disrepute” and specifically mentioned “dishonest or deceitful” behaviour.

READ MORE: Investigation launched into conduct of councillor who followed female lorry driver for 15 miles

Director of governance, Helen Edwards, said: “I don’t know whether that means if you get very drunk in the town centre on a Saturday night and are shown in pictures all over the newspapers, one would think that might bring the council into disrepute but it’s not dishonest or deceitful.”

Committee chairman Mark Kiddle-Morris added: “If I do go to the pub and have too much to drink then everybody in that pub will know I’m the local councillor - but I’m not acting as a councillor when I go to the pub?”

While vice-chaiman Anthony White said the section should be rewritten and added: “I definitely have a problem with it.”

George Nobbs asked about sanctions to remove members, and said: “We can huff and puff as much as you like but as long as someone is elected for four years you can’t remove them.”

But Mr Kiddle-Morris said legislative changes could alter this and the committee agreed to submit their feedback to the LGA.

READ MORE: Council takes no action in ‘conflict of interest’ complaint about leader


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Dereham Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Dereham Times