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Councillors Business Interests

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI’s).

Parish Council members are required to formally disclose pecuniary interests of both themselves and their spouses in line with the Localism Act 2011. The Act requires that members disclose details of employment, property ownership, contract or tenancies with the council, sponsorship, or shareholding.

DPI’s must be disclosed within 28 days of election. If not already disclosed, a member must disclose a DPI at any meeting at which an item affecting a DPI is being considered. Any new DPI’s must be disclosed to the Monitoring Officer within 28 days.

Members must not participate or vote in any discussion where a DPI is present, unless prior dispensation permitting this has been provided.

If without reasonable excuse a member fails to comply with these rules, they may be found guilty of a criminal offence which is liable to a maximum fine of £5,000 and disqualification of up to five years. 



Introduction: Bias and predetermination are not explicitly mentioned in the [Member] Code of Conduct. The Code provisions on declarations of interest are about ensuring you do not take decisions where you or those close to you stand to lose or gain improperly. There is however, a separate concept in law dealing with bias and predetermination, which exists to ensure that decisions are taken solely in the public interest, rather than to further private interests.

Both the courts and legislation recognise that elected councillors are entitled, and indeed expected, to have and to have expressed their views on a subject to be decided upon by their council. Nonetheless, decisions of public authorities do involve consideration of circumstances where a decision-maker must not act in a way that goes to the appearance of having a closed mind and pre-determining a decision before they have all of the evidence before them and where they have to act fairly. Breaches of the rules of natural justice in these circumstances have and do continue to result in decisions of local authorities being successfully challenged in the courts.

To quote a leading judgment "All councillors elected to serve on local councils have to be scrupulous in their duties, search their consciences and consider carefully the propriety of attending meetings and taking part in decisions which may give rise to an appearance of bias even though their actions are above reproach.”

While declaring interests will to some extent deal with issues of bias, there will still be areas where a formal declaration is not required under the [Member] Code of Conduct, but councillors need to be clear that they are not biased or predetermined going into the decision-making process. Otherwise, the decision is at risk of being challenged on appeal or in the courts.

The Localism Act 2011 has enshrined the rules relating to pre-disposition and predetermination into statute. In essence, you are not taken to have had, or appeared to have had, a closed mind when making a decision just because you have previously done anything that directly or indirectly indicated what view you may take in relation to a matter and that matter was relevant to the decision.

See attached document for FAQs