'Standards of behaviour within the Authority are regulated by Codes of Conduct and the ethical framework introduced under the Localism Act 2011. The Authority is proactive in promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct through its Standards Sub-Committee.
Whilst standards of behaviour within the Authority are generally excellent, there is no room for complacency. We fully subscribe to the principles underpinning the ethical framework and expect all members and officers to do the same. We are both committed to working together to lead by example and to upholding the ethical wellbeing and effective governance of the Authority.'
Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive and Leading Member
‘North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority believes in a strong ethical organisational culture. It aims to promote the highest levels of conduct by its members and officers, to increase public trust in the delivery of its vision and objectives, by:
- maintaining openness and transparency in conducting its business;
- being accountable for all it says and does;
- ensuring everyone knows what is expected of them;
- offering appropriate training and development programmes; and
- promoting the work of its Standards Sub-Committee.’
These principles are supported throughout the Authority.
Members’ Code of Conduct
Authority Members and voting co-opted members on Authority committees ("Members") must comply with the Authority’s ethical framework in discharging their duties.
Members must adhere to a Code of Conduct for Members, which places general conduct obligations upon them, for example not treating others with disrespect, and which also requires them to:
- disclose the existence and nature of disclosable pecuniary interests to meetings of the Authority and its committees and then to withdraw from the meeting (unless s/he has a dispensation from the Standards Sub-Committee / Monitoring Officer);
- register certain statutorily prescribed disclosable pecuniary interests in the Register of Members’ Interests which is open to public inspection during office hours (and an electronic version is also available on the Authority’s website - currently being updated).
Where a member has a disclosable pecuniary interest in any matter to be considered, or being considered, at a meeting of the Authority and its committees, s/he must generally declare the existence and nature of the interest and then, unless s/he has a dispensation from the Standards Sub-Committee / Monitoring Officer to fully participate, leave the meeting room.
The Authority has adopted a Protocol for Member/Officer Relations to guide Members and Officers of the Authority in their relations with one another.
The Authority has delegated standards functions to its Audit and Performance Review Committee, with a sub-committee of that Committee (the ‘Standards Sub-Committee’) being responsible for standards and standards complaint handling issues.
The Sub-Committee promotes and maintains high standards of conduct in the Authority. The Sub-Committee assists and advises Members and the Authority on ethical issues, monitors the operation of the Authority’s Code of Conduct for Members and, where necessary, determines complaints that Members may have breached the Code. The Sub-Committee also has a role in relation to issues raised by or in relation to persistent and/or vexatious complainants.
All elected Members and voting co-opted Members must follow the Code and if they are found to have breached it then they can face sanction by the Standards Sub-Committee. A failure to comply with the interests' regime may also amount to a criminal offence.
Current membership of the Standards Sub-Committee:
County Councillor Andrew Backhouse (Con)
County Councillor Eric Broadbent (Lab)
County Councillor Chris Pearson (Con)
City Councillor Chris Steward (Con)
County Councillor Val Arnold (Substitute for County Councillors Andrew Backhouse and Eric Broadbent).
City Councillor Ken King (Substitute for City Councillors Neil Barnes and Chris Steward).
The Independent Person for Standards, Mr Phil Beavers, is also invited to meetings of the Sub-Committee.
The Independent Persons for Standards is consulted on all key standards issues.
Complaint of breach of Members' Code of Conduct
The responsibility for receiving and assessing complaints that a member may have breached the Members' Code of Conduct lies with the Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the Independent Person for Standards.
What this means is that if you want to complain about the conduct of a member of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, you must submit your complaint, in writing, using the Authority’s Complaint Form, to:
The Monitoring Officer
Legal and Democratic Services
North Yorkshire County Council
The Monitoring Officer and Standards Sub-Committee can only deal with complaints about the behaviour of a Member which falls within the scope of the Members’ Code of Conduct and cannot deal with complaints about issues that are not covered by the Code. If you make a complaint under the standards framework, it must be about why you think a member has not followed the Code.
The Monitoring Officer will assess a complaint in consultation with the Independent Person for Standards, in accordance with agreed local assessment criteria and will decide whether or not a complaint merits formal investigation or other action. The Assessment Criteria can be accessed here.
The procedure which the Standards Sub-Committee will follow in discharging its functions in relation to the determination of complaints can be accessed here.
The Standards Sub-Committee is supported in its work to uphold high ethical standards by the Authority’s Monitoring Officer, who has a key role in relation to the ethical agenda.
Meetings, agendas and minutes
A meetings schedule, agendas and minutes of previous meetings of the former Standards Committee and the current Standards Sub-Committee can be seen in key documents.
Publications and documents
The Standards Sub-Committee produces, periodically, a Standards Bulletin which is circulated to Members of the Authority to keep them informed of the key developments and decided cases in the standards regime. The latest edition of the Bulletin is available for download in the committee papers section of this site.
Below are some of the other documents of reference: