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Department of the Environment (DOE)

Northern Ireland Environment Agency

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Code of Conduct

Ethical Standards Regime and Code of Conduct

The Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014 introduces an ethical standards framework for local government. Section 53 of that Act permits the Department to introduce a Northern Ireland Local Government Code of Conduct for Councillors.

The Northern Ireland Assembly approved the Code on 27 May 2014 and, with the exception of the section on planning matters, it came into force on 28 May 2014. The section in relation to planning will come into force on 1 April 2015.

A copy of the Code is available - The Northern Ireland Local government Code of Conduct for Councillors (PDF 394kb)PDF Document. Opens in a new window.

The code applies to councillors of the current 26 councils as well as to those elected to the 11 new councils on 22 May 2014. The Code will also apply to a non-elected person who is appointed to a council committee.

The Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014 also provides for the investigation and adjudication of alleged breaches of the Code and this is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints. The act also provides for sanctions to be applied if a councillor is found to be in breach of the Code. These include-  

  • no further action to be taken;
  • censure;
  • partial suspension (eg from a particular committee or for a particular time period);
  • suspension; and
  • disqualification.

Any allegations of a breach of the Code must be sent in writing to the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints at –

The Ombudsman

Freepost BEL 1478




The Ombudsman

33 Wellington Place



Further Information