FOI Request - Personal Declaration of Interest

Request 101000403258

Do council employees have to declare any personal declaration of interest when
it comes to making decisions regarding persons they have a relationship with
eg close family members, in-laws, specifically regarding housing allocation,
removal grants?

Response 14-01-2016

All persons seeking Council housing must complete a housing application form providing details of their circumstances.  Within this application, applicants are required to declare whether they are related to any Moray Council employees or Elected Members.  They are also asked at the end of the application form to sign a declaration that the information provided within their application is true and complete.  Where false or misleading information is provided, it can invalidate their housing application, it can lead to prosecution and in exceptional cases it could also result in the loss of any property gained as a result of such information.

The allocation of Council housing is currently carried out by a specialist team of housing needs officers.  Where a person is related to any Council Officer or Elected Member, all offers must be authorised by the Head of Housing and Property and details to support and validate  the offer are retained on file for both internal/external audit purposes.  In the event of any conflict of interest which might involve the Head of Service (i.e. a relative of that individual applies for housing), the authorisation of any offer of housing to that individual would need to be authorised by the Corporate Director (Economic Development Planning and Infrastructure.   These measures are specifically in place to avoid any potential conflict of interest where relatives of staff/Elected Members are involved.

Discretionary Housing Payment or Scottish Welfare Fund applications for removal costs are considered and decision made by the Discretionary Award Team, part of the Benefit's Service. All staff of which are required to declare and sign a register of interests.There is a corporate policy for all council staff to declare interests.

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