Complaints against councillors and standards

Strong 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 is in place.

Under the 2011 Localism Act, the way in which complaints against councillors are dealt with has changed. Complaints against a councillor must indicate how the Member is felt to have breached the Code of Conduct.

Complaints are assessed by the Monitoring Officer, in consultation with an Independent Person, to come to a view as to whether or not there is a potential breach of the Code. In exceptional circumstances this task will be undertaken by a sub-committee of the Standards Committee. However, the complaint will be rejected at this stage if:

  • The complaint 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.
  • The complaint, if proven, would not be a breach of the Code of Conduct under which the Subject Member was operating at the time of the alleged misconduct.
  • The complaint relates to a matter which took place more than six months ago, except in exceptional circumstances.

If at this initial assessment stage it is felt that there is a potential breach then the decision may be to take no action, for the Monitoring Officer to deal with the issues involved, or to refer the matter for investigation.

The recommendations arising from any investigation will be considered by the Monitoring Officer in conjunction with the Independent Person. If the Investigation concludes that there is no breach of the Code then it is likely to result in no action being taken. If there is considered to be a breach then a Hearing Panel may be held consisting of members of the Standards Committee including an Independent Member. At the Hearing, the Panel will listen to evidence from all parties and come to a determination as to what, if any, action 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.

Make an official complaint about a Councillor

Further information


Contact for Democratic Services