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Complaints about councillors

How to complain about a councillor and how it will be dealt with.

What is a complaint about a councillor?

A complaint made against a Member or Co-opted Member of the Council alleging that they have broken or breached the Council's Code of Conduct for Members when acting in their official capacity.

adobe_acrobat icon View a copy of our Code of Conduct here [15kb].

Who can make a complaint?

Complaints can be made by anyone.

How to make a complaint

Complaints, also know as allegations of member misconduct, must be made in writing to the Monitoring Officer. This can be via letter or email.

What do I need to do when making a complaint?

You need to let us know which Councillor you are complaining about and say why you think they are in breach of our Code of Conduct.

Include as much information as possible to support your complaint, including any documents which you would like us to take into account.

How will my complaint be dealt with?

The Council has in place a procedure to investigate and determine allegations that Members have breached the adobe_acrobat icon Council's Code of Conduct for Members [15kb].
Full details of this process are shared adobe_acrobat icon in this document [29kb].

In brief, the process is as follows: (adobe_acrobat icon view a flowchart here [18kb])

Initial Assessment

  • The Monitoring Officer will acknowledge receipt of a complaint within 5 working days and conduct an initial investigation to determine if the complaint warrants a full investigation. This decision is made against set criteria adobe_acrobat icon set out here [29kb] in consultation with an Independent Person.
  • The Monitoring Officer will make this decision within 14 working days and write to inform you of their decision, giving reasons.
  • If the complaint is judged to have merit, the Monitoring Officer will either refer an apparent case of criminal misconduct to the Police, attempt to resolve the complaint informally, or appoint an Investigating Officer to fully investigate.

Full Investigation by Investigative Officer

  • The Investigating Officer will investigate the complaint and may contact you for additional information. They will also write to the Member concerned asking them for their explanation of events.
  • After investigation, the Investigating Officer will send a report to the Monitoring Officer concluding if there has been a breach of the Code.
  • The Monitoring Officer will then consider the report and decide if the matter requires further consideration or not.
  • If there is no evidence of misconduct, the Monitoring Officer will most likely write to you to say that no further action will be taken. However, they can ask the Investigating Officer to reconsider their report if they are not satisfied the investigation was conducted properly.
  • If there is evidence of misconduct, the Monitoring Officer can attempt to bring about local resolution, or refer the matter for local hearing before the Hearings Panel, (a sub-committee of the Audit and Governance Committee). 

Local Resolution or Referral to the Hearings Panel

  • If the matter is referred to the Hearings Panel, either directly or as a result of local resolution failing, the Monitoring Officer will provide the Hearing Panel with the Investigating Officer's report and a hearing will take place to determine if the Member has breached the Code of Conduct for Members.
  • Opportunities for representations will be provided and the Panel is also required to consult with an Independent Person before any decision is made.
  • If the Panel decides that the Member did not breach the Code of Conduct, no further action will be taken and there is no automatic right of review.
  • If it is decided that the Member did breach the Code, the Panel in consultation with an Independent Person will decide on possible sanctions. The delegated powers available to the Panel are listed within the procedure document.
  • Once the hearing is concluded, the Monitoring Officer shall prepare a formal decision notice in consultation with the Chair of the Panel and send copies to the complainant and Member concerned. The notice will also be made available for public inspection and reported to the next meeting of the Council.