Standards expected of all councillors

Everyone has standards which they live by, whether they realise it or not. For most people their standards are a matter for their own conscience. Unless they break the law when it becomes a matter for the police or the courts.

For people elected to represent others, the standards by which they live become a matter for the people for whom they are speaking. Anyone in public life has a responsibility to conduct themselves to certain standards. 

Standards expected of all councillors in the UK


Members should serve only the public interest. They should never improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person.

Honesty and integrity

Members should not place themselves in situations where their honesty and integrity may be questioned.  They should not behave improperly, and should on all occasions avoid the appearance of such behaviour.


Members should make decisions on merit.  Including when making appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits.


Members should be accountable to the public for their actions and the manner in which they carry out their responsibilities. They should co-operate fully and honestly with any scrutiny appropriate to their particular office.


Members should be as open as possible about their actions and those of their authority. They should be prepared to give reasons for those actions.


Members should promote and support these principles by leadership, and by example.  They should act in a way that secures or preserves public confidence.

Additional standards expected of all Councillors in Cornwall

This includes:

  • unitary
  • town and parish councillors

Personal judgement

Members may take account of the views of others, including their political groups. However they should reach their own conclusions on the issues before them. They should also act in accordance with those conclusions.

Respect for others

Members should promote equality by not discriminating unlawfully against any person.  They should treat people with respect, regardless of their:

  • race
  • age
  • religion
  • gender
  • sexual orientation or
  • disability

They should respect the impartiality and integrity of the authority’s statutory officers and its other employees.

Duty to uphold the law

Members should uphold the law.  On all occasions, they should act in accordance with the trust that the public is entitled to place in them.


Members should do whatever they are able to do to ensure that their authorities use their resources prudently.  This must be done in accordance with the law.

Read the full Code of Conduct

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