Frequently Asked Questions
If you can’t find the answers you are looking for, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions for you to refer to.
You must not use Council resources for your own purpose. Examples of this include using:
- Council letter heads or postage for personal letters
- Council IT equipment to undertake non-Council related work
- Council vehicles for personal trips
- Using the Council’s telephony system to make non work-related calls without permission
- Operate a business during Council time
- Promote products or facilities in Council time in order to make personal gain
An offence would be committed if for example:
- An officer requested, agreed to receive, or accepted an advantage in return for services
- An advantage was secured with the “consent or connivance” of the manager
- Officers agreed to “fix” a procurement process or evaluation in the briefer’s favour
A “financial” or “other advantage” may include money, assets, gifts, hospitality, or services.
You must not accept any offers to attend purely social, cultural, or sporting events. Offers should be respectfully refused unless you are attending as the Council’s representative.
You must also declare the offer using our on-line Declarations of Gifts and Hospitality process even though it has been declined.
If there is any suggestion of influence or reward it should not be accepted under any circumstances irrespective of the value.
Every time a Council officer accepts a gift or hospitality from someone who does business with the Council, an ethical problem and even possibly a criminal offence may occur.
It does not matter whether the gift is in the form of money, a discount not offered to all other officers, alcohol, dinner at a local restaurant, a trip, or anything else.
We understand that, from time to time, you will be offered complimentary low value promotional materials whilst discharging your duties.
In cases such as these it is permissible for you to accept such low value items providing the gift is to be used for work purposes and is preferably marked with the donor’s branding or company name.
Examples may include items such as pens, diaries, calendars, mouse mats or any other low value stationery item. These types of items do not need to be declared.
When considering whether to declare a close personal association you should consider whether there could be any perceived influence or bias. Close personal associations/relationships within this guidance are defined as employees who are:
- Married, Civil partners, in a partnership or co-habiting arrangement
- Immediate family members of the applicant or employee e.g. parents, son/daughter, brother/sister, grandparent/grandchild
- Other relations of the applicant or employee e.g. extended family such as Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Nieces, Nephews or any other individuals with whom there is a close personal association e.g. close friendships or relationships, business associates (outside the Authority)
- It also includes a previous association e.g. former spouse, where there could be a degree of bias
- A child/young person or vulnerable adult/ client whom an employee meets as a result of their employment
- A person with whom you are/have been in conflict or dispute
If you are uncertain about whether an association should or should not be declared then you should err on the side of caution and declare it. The key test is whether such an association could be seen to affect an individual’s personal judgement.
You must notify your line manager immediately as you may have a conflict of interest. This information needs to be declared using our on-line Declarations of Interest form.
If you are employed in procuring those services then you cannot be involved in the contracting process in respect of that contract.
You must not use any information you have to inform your husband’s tender submission.
The Council must act and be seen to act without bias. In certain cases, depending on your job and the circumstance, the Council would need to review whether you could continue to be employed by the Council.
You must notify your line manager and declare this information using our on-line Declaration of Interest process. Our Close Personal Associations and Relationships guidance will provide further information.
Not routinely, however as circumstances arise you should consider whether your membership gives rise to a conflict of interest and whether you should declare it at that point in time.
You must declare and register any shareholdings in each company. If you are employed by any of the companies (paid or unpaid) then you will need to consult with your line manager in relation to secondary employment. If you have an association with the company, you must declare it using our on-line Declarations of Interest process.
You must not use any information or resources you have via your Council role to advantage the companies.
- Membership of a Carmarthenshire School Governing Body
- Your membership, or position of control or management, in bodies exercising functions of a public nature (that is, carrying out a public service, taking the place of a local or central governmental body in providing a service, exercising a function delegated by a Local Authority or exercising a function under legislation or a statutory power)
- Any contracts between the Authority and any company/body you have an interest in
- Any political appointment
- Employment of an employee’s direct family (wife, husband, partner, son, daughter, brother, sister, mother or father) by the Council.
- Businesses that employ an employee’s direct family (wife, husband, partner, son, daughter, brother, sister, mother or father) where the employee has any ability to affect or potentially affect the Council’s decisions to use that company’s services
- Involvement with an organisation receiving grant aid from the Council
- Any land or property in the Authority’s area in which you have a beneficial interest
- Membership of any organisation not open to the public without formal membership and commitment to allegiance and which has secrecy about rules and membership or conduct
There may be other situations that could give rise to a conflict of interests which should also be declared. The key is that good judgement should be exercised and if in doubt seek advice.
With the specific exception of Chief Officers, information gathered through this process is for use by the Council only and as such will not be made public, unless there is an overriding legal requirement for disclosure.
For example, as a statutory disclosure in the Annual Statement of Accounts or where a request is made under the Freedom of Information Act and no exemption applies.
Information disclosed as a result will be kept anonymous and staff involved will be informed.
Staff declarations will be held securely only to be accessed by the Director and their delegated officer. However, during the course of collection or of reasonable management and assurance procedures, information may be made available to the employee’s line manager, audit and HR.
All employees are encouraged to discuss conflicts of interest with their line manager and to jointly identify interests that should be declared.
If you require advice on whether something should be declared, speak to your line manager in the first instance. If you are still not clear, speak to colleagues in People Management or Administration & Law.
The Council supports all citizens’ rights to free speech at all times but you must not behave in a way that could bring the Council into disrepute or harm its reputation. For example, you should not carry an abusive placard or give an inflammatory speech expressing views that conflict with or damage the Council’s reputation.
You should talk to the Information & Data Protection Officer before releasing any information.
This depends on the nature of your role within the Council prior to you leaving. Provisions of the Code of Conduct may still apply after your employment terminates with the Council. For Chief Officers there are specific restrictions that are applicable and are defined by the nationally agreed terms and conditions for JNC employees. Refer to your Terms and Conditions of Employment or seek advice from the People Management Division.
Breaches of this code (inside or outside of work) will be investigated and may result in disciplinary action. Serious breaches of the code may be considered gross misconduct and result in dismissal without notice.
You should politely decline the officer explaining the Council’s position and declare the offer using our online declaration of gift process. If declining is likely to cause offence due to religious reasons for example, you could consider donating the gift to a local charity.
We have removed the £25 limit so that there is no ambiguity about what our staff can and cannot accept from service users or suppliers. We appreciate that a cup of coffee is a relatively low value item, however we would class it as hospitality and so we would encourage all our staff to consider the perception of accepting such hospitality. Every time a Council officer accepts a gift or hospitality from someone who does business with the Council, an ethical problem occurs.
Staff employed by schools are not subject to the Officers’ Code of Conduct although schools will have their own policies / guidance.
Page updated: 24/06/2021 10:50:25