3. General Conduct


3.1  You have a duty to ensure the safeguarding of public funds3 and the proper custody of assets which have been publicly funded.

3.2  You must carry out these obligations responsibly – that is, take appropriate measures to ensure that the body uses resources efficiently, economically and effectively, avoiding waste and extravagance. It will always be an improper use of public funds for public bodies to employ consultants or other companies to lobby Parliament, Government or political parties.


3.3 You must comply with the rules set by the board and the public body regarding remuneration, allowances and expenses. It is your responsibility to ensure compliance with all relevant HM Revenue and Customs’ requirements concerning payments, including expenses.


3.4  You must not accept any gifts or hospitality which might, or might reasonably appear to, compromise your personal judgement or integrity or place you under an improper obligation.

3.5  You must never canvass or seek gifts or hospitality.

3.6  You must comply with the rules set by the body on the acceptance of gifts and hospitality. You should inform the Chief Executive (or equivalent) of any offer of gifts or hospitality and ensure that, where a gift or hospitality is accepted, this is recorded in a public register in line with the rules set by the body.

3.7  You are responsible for your decisions on the acceptance of gifts or hospitality and for ensuring that any gifts or hospitality accepted can stand up to public scrutiny and do not bring your public office and the public body into disrepute.


3.8 You must not misuse official resources4 for personal gain or for political purposes. Deployment of such resources must be in line with the body’s rules on their usage.


3.9  You must not misuse information gained in the course of your public service for personal gain or for political purpose.5

3.10  You must not disclose any information which is confidential in nature or which is provided in confidence without authority. This duty continues to apply after you have left the board.


3.11  In your public role, you should be, and be seen to be, politically impartial. You should not occupy a paid party political post or hold a particularly sensitive or high-profile role in a political party. You should abstain from all controversial political activity and comply with the principles set out in Cabinet Office rules on attendance at party conferences6 and on conduct during the period prior to elections and referendums, whether local or national.7

3.12  On matters directly related to the work of the body, you should not make political statements or engage in any other political activity.

3.13  You should inform the Chair, Chief Executive and/or the parent/sponsor department before undertaking any significant political activity. Subject to the above, you may engage in political activity but should, at all times, remain conscious of your responsibilities as a board member and exercise proper discretion.

3.14  If you are an MP, [MEP8], member of the House of Lords, member of a devolved legislature, directly elected mayor, local councillor or police and crime commissioner, you are exempt from these requirements. There is no bar on such representatives taking a political party whip relating to their political role. You must exercise proper discretion on matters directly related to the work of the body and recognise that certain political activities may be incompatible with your role as a board member. You should not allow yourself to become embroiled in matters of political controversy.

3.15  In your official capacity, you should be even-handed in all dealings with political parties.


3.16  If you wish to take up additional employment or appointments during your term of office, you must inform the Chair and/or the relevant parent department in advance, and allow them the opportunity to comment. Care should be taken if you accept additional public appointments to ensure that you are not being paid twice from the public purse for the same time.

3.17  On leaving office, you must comply with the rules of the body on the acceptance of future employment or appointments. Each body should have its own rules on this.

2  For more guidance on how to handle public funds, please refer to Managing Public Money https://www.gov.uk/ government/publications/managing-public-money

3  This should be taken to include all forms of receipts from fees, charges and other sources.

4  This includes facilities, equipment, stationery, telephony and other services.

5  Board members who misuse information gained by virtue of their position may be liable for breach of confidence under common law or may commit a criminal offence under insider dealing legislation

6  www.gov.uk/government/publications/civil-servants-and-party-conferences-guidance

7  www.gov.uk/government/publications/election-guidance-for-civil-servants

8  For the period which the UK remains a member of the European Union.

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