The Borough Council has adopted a Members Code of Conduct setting out rules governing the behaviour of its Members and co-opted Members of the Council.
The Code of Conduct requires Councillors to observe the seven principles of public life:
In addition, there are rules governing disclosure of interests and withdrawal from meetings where Councillors have certain interests. Councillors are also required to record on the public register of interests of members and co-opted members their financial and other interests.
The Council has a Standards Committee to ensure that Councillors maintain the high standard of conduct that is expected of them.
This remit of the Committee includes:
The Borough Council is responsible for dealing with complaints about not only the conduct of its own Councillors, but also Parish Councillors representing parishes within the borough.
Please note that a Parish Council has the power to adopt its own Code of Conduct, therefore if your complaint relates to the conduct of a Parish Councillor, you will need to check what the Parish Council Code of Conduct says.
The Standards Committee can only deal with complaints about the behaviour of a councillor covered by the Code of Conduct. It will not deal with complaints about things that are not covered by the Code. If you make a complaint it must be about why you think a councillor has not followed the Code of Conduct.
The council has Arrangements for dealing with councillor complaints setting out how it will deal with allegations that an elected or co-opted member of the Council or of a Parish Council within its area has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct. The Monitoring Officer will deal with a complaint as quickly as possible and will usually make a decision on initial assessment around 2 months after receipt of the initial complaint. If a complaint is referred for investigation, it may take up to 12 months for a decision to be made.
Under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011, the Council is required to appoint an Independent Person to assist the Council in promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct amongst its elected members and parish councillors. The Independent Person will be consulted on the decision to investigate complaints and before it makes a decision on an investigated complaint. The Independent Person may be consulted on other standards matters, including by the member who is subject to an allegation.