Code of conduct for board members of public bodies

The Code sets out, clearly and openly, the standards expected from those who serve on the boards of UK government departments, non-ministerial departments, executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies, and national public corporations.


Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies

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This Code replaces the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies issued by the Cabinet Office in 2011.

It sets out the personal and professional standards expected from non-executive board members of UK public bodies and forms part of their terms of appointment.

The 2019 Code includes new provisions making clear that bullying, harassment or other discriminatory behaviour will not be tolerated. It also introduces a new requirement for the board member to notify the sponsor department of any bankruptcy, current police investigation, unspent criminal conviction or disqualification as a company director.

In addition the new Code reminds office holders of their role in promoting diversity and inclusivity within their organisation, including at Board level.

The Code includes clauses on:

  • principles of Public Life
  • Members’ Interests
  • conflicts of interest
  • responsibilities as a Board Member
  • responsibilities towards employees
  • the use of social media
  • raising concerns

The Code should also be observed alongside the 12 Principles of Governance for all Public Body Non-Executive Directors.

Published 14 June 2011
Last updated 1 November 2019 + show all updates
  1. Added HTML version

  2. Updated text and attachment

  3. First published.