Ethics for Officials of Citizens Movements

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WeBXL is an initiative for citizen-driven politics in Brussels, Belgium.

This document is the [1] respected by all WeBXL officials, i.e. people holding elected or appointed political positions. Any citizen who believes that an official has violated this code of ethics can request to have this official removed through the appropriate process.

Purpose

The purpose of this code of ethics is to establish trust between the citizens and WeBXL officials, i.e. all people holding elected or appointed political positions. Trust can only be achieved when the political system is responsible and responsive to citizens, all real and potential conflicts of interests or perverse incentives are avoided, and all decision making is in line with the guiding concepts for WeBXL.

Uphold Values of WeBXL

WeBXL officials defend and uphold the WeBXL Values in all areas of society, politics and institutions.

All officials of WeBXL:

Uphold decisions by WeBXL

Uphold the decisions made through the WeBXL decision making process. Act as representatives who are obligated to act in line with the decisions made through democratic processes opened up to the public, promoting the joint responsibility of all men and women. Guarantee citizen participation in relevant decision-making and in the political positioning of WeBXL officials on strategic issues and projects. Promote and support all citizen initiatives within existing legal frameworks or through the structure of the candidature (at commune or city level).

Commit to seek the necessary legal instruments and mechanisms to make this code of ethics compulsory for everyone in the public administration.


Serve all citizens in the interest of equality

Make public their diary of appointments so that we know whom they are meeting with and the issues discussed. Make meeting agendas and minutes public. Be responsive and accountable to citizens for their actions both in assemblies and online in ways that are democratic and open to all interested sectors and geographical areas (the whole city, communes or neighbourhoods).

Be responsive to requests for information from citizens. Information should always be presented as usable open data.

Report information about irregularities in the public sector to the relevant citizens committees.

Keep in regular contact with vulnerable groups, dedicate the necessary space in their agenda to listen and respond to their proposals, and take administration reports on these groups into account when upholding decisions.

Selection and dismissal by the citizens

Accept candidature for public office based on selection procedure and criteria set by the citizens.

Accept the censure or dismissal of WeBXL officials for poor management, or for a flagrant, unjustified failure to implement the decisions made through the WeBXL decision making process or uphold the values of WeBXL.

Establish mechanisms for citizens to evaluate officials and submit complaints. Citizens will have the right and the responsibility to actively participate in the oversight of the work of public office holders to ensure that this principle is carried out effectively and honestly.

Make public the criteria used to select people for appointed office. Where possible consult citizens on these criteria.

Accountability

Make public all of their income sources, wealth and capital gains, as well as all information necessary to detect potential conflicts of interest and to carry out citizen audits. This commitment is applicable to the three years following their exit from public office.

Not accept, for a period of a least 5 years after leaving office, positions of responsibility in companies created, regulated, supervised by, or beneficiaries of municipal contracts in the area or sector in which they have acted as representatives. They should never accept board positions in such companies.

Financing, transparency and expenditure management

Be transparent in its management, publishing disaggregated data on income and spending, which it will manage with socially responsible economic institutions.

Set a maximum limit on private donations.

Explicitly refuse to accept bank loans and donations from individuals that could compromise the political independence of the candidature. The candidature will explicitly commit to work with ethical banking institutions to ensure its independence and to uphold the values in its manifesto.

Clearly back drastic limits on election campaign spending.

Promote goal-based crowdfunding, that is, small crowdfunding initiatives aimed at carrying out specific actions or covering specific needs. Not use foundations or entities, which may have different goals to the candidature, in order to obtain financing using mechanisms that are not transparent.

Introduce effective administrative and legal sanctions to tackle irregular financing activities.

The candidature make use of its financing in a way that is consistent with this code of ethics and its values, allocating goal-based funds aimed at strengthening civil society associations (without generating dependency or clientelism).

Professionalization of politics, the reduction of privileges and measures to tackle corruption

Those in elected, managerial and appointed office commit to:

Renounce any gifts and privileges that are offered to them by virtue of their office and which could result in preferential treatment.

Not take on multiple public posts, other than those linked to their role as councilmen or women.

Not earn multiple salaries or charge extra fees for attending meetings.

Set a maximum monthly net salary of 2,200 Euros, including expenses, in the understanding that this amount guarantees decent conditions in which to carry out the responsibilities and tasks of the office.

Limit their term of office to two consecutive legislatures, which can be extended to three in exceptional circumstances, subject to a process of citizen debate and approval.

Resign or be dismissed immediately from all posts if charged with crimes related to corruption, profit from malfeasance, influence peddling, unjust enrichment using public or private resources, bribery, embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds, either for their own benefit or for that of third parties. The same commitment applies to charges for crimes of racism, xenophobia, violence, homophobia or other crimes against human rights or labour rights.

Carry out a good handover of information and knowledge (without charge), following the protocol agreed by the candidature.

Support people in the transition between the workforce and politics, establishing support mechanisms for former elected officials during their return to the workforce in the case that they do not find work.

Develop mechanisms to support the combination of family life and politics.

Amendments

The code of ethics can be amended using the decision making mechanism of WeBXL.
  1. This code of ethics is based on the code of ethics of Barcelona En Comu https://barcelonaencomu.cat/sites/default/files/pdf/codi-etic-eng.pdf