All councils are governed by Legislation which is being regularly updated. The majority of laws concerning Local Council are within the Local Government Act 1972. Transparency and the Localism Act (2012) were introduced in recent years, along with the most recent legislation of GDPR.
As a result, Councils require a set of Policies. The most important of these are the Standing Orders, which layout how the Council operates, and the Financial Regulations, which states how Council manages the finances.
Additionally, and in the interests of transparency, all Councillors are required to accept the Code of Conduct and to submit a record of their interests to the District Council. Any member of the public can ask to see those interests.
During a meeting, if an item being discussed or on the agenda might be about any interest of a Councillor, the Councillor is required by law to reveal that there is an interest. For instance, if a planning application was to be discussed about a property in the same road as the Councillor.
Depending on the interest, the Councillor will declare a Non-Pecuniary interest (insofar that he/she will have NO monetary gain or loss) or a Pecuniary interest where he/she will have a monetary gain or loss. If there is a Pecuniary interest it is normal for the Councillor to leave the meeting and the room and take no part in the debate.
The Councillor can ask for a dispensation to take part in the discussion for a Pecuniary Interest, which the Council would have to resolve to accept.