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Local government demands high standards of conduct and a solid ethical framework. It falls upon the council's Monitoring Officer and its Standards Committee to ensure that this framework is in place.

Under the 2011 Localism Act, the way in which complaints against councillors are handled has changed.

Complaints against councillors and standards

Any accusations about a councillor must explain how you feel they have breached the Code of Conduct.

The Monitoring Officer assesses the matter and consults with an independent person. Together, they will determine whether or not there has been a potential breach of the Code.

In exceptional circumstances assessments will be carried out by a sub-committee of the Standards Committee.

Please be aware that a complaint will be rejected if:

  • the matter is not against one or more named Members or co-opted Members of the Council
  • the subject Member was not in office at the time of the alleged conduct
  • it would not be a breach of the Code of Conduct under which the subject Member was operating at the time of the alleged misconduct
  • relates to a matter which took place more than six months ago, except under exceptional circumstances.

If at the initial assessment stage it is felt that there is a potential breach, then the:

  • decision might be to take no action
  • Monitoring Officer will deal with the issues involved
  • issue(s) raised may be referred for investigation.

Following any investigation, recommendations will be considered by the Monitoring Officer and an independent person. If an investigation finds that:

  • there is no breach of the Code, it is likely to result in no action being taken
  • there is considered to be a breach, then a Hearing Panel could be held with members of the Standards Committee and an independent Member. At the hearing, the panel will listen to evidence from all parties and come to a decision as to what action, if any, should take place. This could include a sanction against the Member concerned.

The Leader of the Council cannot be a member of the Standards Committee.