Who Runs the Authority?
The Park Authority Committee consists of 22 members:
4 Parish members;
6 County Council appointed members;
6 District Council appointed members; and
5 Members appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to represent the wider, national viewpoint.
The above membership ensures that a balance of interests and skills are brought to the day-to-day running of the National Park Authority.
How are the Members appointed?
Local Authority members must be serving councillors of their appointing local authority. The Environment Act requires the local authority to have regard to the desirability of appointing members who represent divisions or wards situated wholly or partly within the National Park boundary. They should also have relevant experience and close links to the National Park. Councillors must stand for re-election to their council every four years.
Six members are appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and are selected for their ability to represent a wider national viewpoint and for their specialist experience in relation to the particular character of the National Park. These Secretary of State appointed members are usually appointed for a period of four years but can be re-appointed, usually up to a maximum of ten years in total. Details will be included on the website when Secretary of State members are proposed to be appointed.
Four Parish members are also appointed by the Secretary of State, they are elected by Parish Councils in the National Park. Parish members must be either a Parish Councillor or the Chairman of a Parish Meeting. The elections are administered by the Association of Exmoor Parish Councils. The successful candidates are then nominated to the Secretary of State for appointment. Parish members are appointed to ensure that local people are involved in the running of the National Park; they are representatives of the local people in the National Park as a whole not just their own parish. Their term of office usually ends when parish council elections are held (every four years) unless there is a casual vacancy in the meantime.
Members' Code of Conduct: The Authority is required to promote and maintain high standards of conduct and to establish a Code of Conduct with which each Member must comply whenever acting in his/her official capacity.
Members' Interests: Under Exmoor National Park Authority's Code of Conduct, Members are required to register personal interests, for example: membership of bodies to which the Authority has appointed them; membership of bodies exercising functions of a public nature (eg Parish, District or County Council); membership of any organisation directed to charitable purposes; or membership of any organisation whose principal purposes include the influence of public opinion or policy or which might create a conflict of interest in carrying out the duties of a Member of Exmoor National Park Authority.
Under national rules, Members are also required to register their disclosable pecuniary interests, ie their business interests, for example their employment, trade, profession, contracts which they or any company with which they are associated have with the Authority, and wider financial interests they might have (for example investments and assets including land and property within the National Park). Members have a disclosable pecuniary interest if they or their spouse or civil partner has a pecuniary interest as described above; however there is no requirement to differentiate between those pecuniary interests that relate to the Member personally and those that relate to their spouse or civil partner. The declaration of pecuniary interests ensures that the public can have confidence that Members are putting the public interest first and not benefitting the financial affairs of themselves or their spouse or civil partner.
The full Register of Members' Interests is available for inspection at the Authority's offices at Exmoor House, Dulverton, Somerset. For further information please contact the Corporate Support Officer at email@example.com or 01398 322229. A summary of the Register of Interests can be viewed here.
Members' Allowances: Members receive an allowance and the Local Authorities (Members' Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003 require the Authority to adopt a scheme of allowances before the start of the each financial year: Scheme of Members' Allowances 2013/14.