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Complaining about a councillor

An allegation of misconduct or a complaint about a councillor must be submitted in writing.  Please let us know if you require assistance to make a complaint in writing.

Any written complaint about a councillor, a co-optee of South Gloucestershire Council or a parish/town councillor should be sent to:

South Gloucestershire Council
Chief Executive & Corporate Resources Department
The Monitoring Officer
PO Box 1953
Bristol
BS37 0DB

By email to Legalsupport@southglos.gov.uk

Please complete the complaint form and provide relevant information to substantiate the complaint allegation(s). The complaint form can be obtained from the monitoring officer at the above address, by phoning us or by downloading the form.

The Standards Sub-Committee

The following guidance is intended to help you make your complaint.

The standards sub-committee is made up of three members of the regulatory committee. The sub-committee is supported by independent persons appointed by the council. The articles of the committee, which outlines what the sub-committee can do, are found in the Council’s Constitution – Terms of Reference for the Regulatory Committee.

Complaints dealt with by a standards sub-committee

The standards sub-committee can only deal with complaints about the behaviour of a member, co-optee of South Gloucestershire Council or member of its town and parish councils. It will not deal with complaints about matters that are not covered by the Members Code of Conduct.

What happens to your complaint

On receipt of a complaint we will write to the Complainant to let them know we have received it, usually within 5 working days.

The Monitoring Officer will assess whether the complaint is a valid complaint.

If the complaint is not a valid complaint we will write to the Complainant giving reasons why the complaint is not valid.  No further action will be taken by the Monitoring Officer.

If the complaint is valid the Monitoring Officer will notify the Councillor to whom the complaint relates, they will be provided with details of the complaint and they will be invited them to make representations.

On receipt of all relevant information the Monitoring Officer will undertake the initial assessment of the complaint. This requires the Monitoring Officer to review the complaint with an “Independent Person” (this is an individual who is not a councillor and who has been appointed to assist it in dealing with complaints against councillors) and consider what, if any action is required to be taken in relation to the complaint. The Monitoring Officer will record the views of the Independent Person and take their views in to account in reaching their decision.

In some cases, the Monitoring Officer and/or the Independent Person may request that the initial assessment is undertaken by the Standards Sub-Committee, in these circumstances either a telephone conference will be arranged or in exceptional circumstances a meeting of the Standards Sub-Committee will be convened comprising of three members of the Regulatory Committee and an Independent Person. The members will be provided with a copy of the complaint, the response from the Councillor and any other material the Monitoring Officer/Independent Person considers is necessary.

If the outcome of the initial assessment is that there is an apparent breach of the code of conduct, we will then consider whether the matter any further action. It could

  • investigate your complaint
  • take some other action, e.g. local resolution, mediation or training
  • take no further action

If the initial assessment determines that there is no breach of the code of conduct, this decision is final and there is no appeal process for the complainant.

On the completion of this initial assessment the Monitoring Officer will write to the Complainant and the Councillor to advise them of the outcome of the complaint.  The decision notice will include the views of the Independent Person

If the complaint is referred  for investigation, then following the completion of an investigation, a hearing will be set up at which the question of whether there has been a breach of the code of conduct will be decide. The hearing panel will decide whether a  sanction is appropriate

The hearing panel is made up of at least three members of the regulatory committee, none of whom were involved in the original assessment of the complaint.

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