A complaint against a councillor is an allegation that a councillor has not observed the Members Code of Conduct.
The Code of Conduct sets out rules about how councillors should behave and also requires them to disclose any personal interests they have.
When a councillor signs up to the Code of Conduct they must comply with the following:
The Code of Conduct is included at Chapter 7 in the Council's Constitution.
You can complain to the Council's Monitoring Officer that a councillor has not observed the Code of Conduct. Any complaint should be made using an appropriate complaint form (see how to access PDF files).
The complaint form is also available on request from Legal & Democratic Services.
You should send your complaint to:
You should say which councillor you are complaining about and why you think they are in breach of the Code of Conduct. Please include as much information as possible to support your complaint, together with the remedy or remedies you are looking for or hoping to achieve by submitting this complaint.
The Council's Monitoring Officer will receive and assess all complaints and after consulting the Council's Independent Persons, will determine whether the complaint should be investigated.
The Monitoring Officer may request further evidence or information to be provided to support the complaint or may ask for an initial response from the councillor subject to the complaint in order to assist with their determination of the complaint that has been made.
If the Monitoring Officer considers that they can resolve the complaint through informal mediation or discussion, they may take this step before determining whether a complaint should be investigated.
The Monitoring Officer will inform the complainant and the councillor in writing of their decision within 30 days of receipt of the complaint. If the Monitoring Officer is not able to respond within this time, they will inform the complainant and councillor of the date by which a decision will be made.
If the complaint is to be investigated, the Monitoring Officer will arrange for this to be done by either an officer of the Council or an independent investigator. The Monitoring Officer may provide terms of reference for the investigation, which will focus on investigation of the factual evidence in support or against the allegation. The councillor that is the subject of the complaint has a duty to co-operate with the investigation.
An investigation should take no longer than 2 months from the date of the appointment of the investigator, unless the Monitoring Officer agrees that the investigation period should be extended. The Investigator will then provide a written report to the Monitoring Officer in respect of the allegations.
The Monitoring Officer will then report the matter to the Members' Advisory Panel, who will conduct a local hearing to consider whether the councillor has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct and if so, whether to recommend action in respect of the councillor to the Monitoring Officer.
The Council has agreed arrangements for dealing with complaints against councillors. These are set out in the Council's Constitution and give more detail about how any investigation will be conducted, what happens after an investigation (including hearings by the Members Advisory Panel) and the role of the Independent Persons.
The following complaints are normally not suitable for investigation, except where the Monitoring Officer accepts there are exceptional circumstances:
This procedure does not replace the Council's Corporate Complaints Procedure. If you are unhappy with something the Council has done or failed to do, you should use the Corporate Complaints Procedure.
The person who has submitted the complaint has 7 days from the date of the Monitoring Officer's letter to ask for a review of a decision not to investigate a complaint.
The application for review must be submitted in writing to the Monitoring Officer and should clearly set out the reasons for requesting the review.
The review will be determined by the Council's Chief Executive. If the Chief Executive considers the review should be upheld, the complaint will be investigated.
The role of the Members Advisory Panel is to conduct a hearing into an allegation that a councillor has breached the Code of Conduct. Following a Hearing, the Panel make one of the following recommendations to the Monitoring Officer:
The Members Advisory Panel may recommend to the Monitoring Officer any action or combination of actions available, or recommend any informal resolution or combination of informal resolutions as are available by law or policy.
After making a finding the Members Advisory Panel shall, as soon as reasonably practicable provide written notice of its recommendations and the reasons for its decision to Monitoring Officer, the Member and complainant.
If you require further information in respect of making complaints about councillors, please contact:
You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org