How your complaint will be handled
Step 1: The Complaint
Complaints have to be submitted in writing preferably using the Members’ Code of Conduct Complaints form. If you have a disability that prevents you from making, or makes it difficult for you to submit, your complaint in writing, we will assist you.
Step 2: The Initial Assessment
The Monitoring Officer will carry out an initial assessment of every complaint having regard to the criteria listed in paragraph 3.2 of the complaints procedure. If the allegation does not fall within the scope of the Members’ Code of Conduct or if one or more of the initial assessment criteria are met, no further action will be taken.
Step 3: The initial decision
If further action is necessary, the Monitoring Officer will notify the subject member of the complaint and give him/her the opportunity to respond and then consult one of the council’s Independent Persons before deciding what to do next. This could range from no further action to requiring an investigation to a finding of breach.
Step 4: The review
Depending on the Monitoring Officer’s initial decision, either the complainant or the subject member can ask the Monitoring Officer to review her decision. The Monitoring Officer will notify the other party of the review request and give them the opportunity to respond. The Monitoring Officer will consult the Independent Person again before reconsidering the complaint.
Step 5: Implementation of any action
If a complaint merits formal investigation, the Monitoring Officer will appoint an investigating officer to produce a report, which will be considered by the Audit and Standards Committee following consultation with the Independent Person. The main options open to the Audit and Standards Committee are (1) that no further action is required; (2) find that there has been a breach of the Code of Conduct but decide that a hearing is not necessary or (3) direct that there be a hearing.
Step 6: Hearing
If the Audit and Standards Committee decide that there should be a hearing before the complaint is determined, the procedure set out in Annex 3 (page 20) of the complaints procedure will be followed.