Complaint about a Councillor - Responsibilities and powers

Part 3 of the Council Constitution

Responsibility for functions - Members

Audit and Risk Scrutiny Committee

The following additional responsibilities apply:

To promote and maintain high standards of conduct by Members and Co-opted Members of the Authority, and:

  • Advise and assist Parish Council(s) and Parish Councillors to maintain high standards of conduct and to make recommendations to Parish Councils on improving standards or on actions following a finding of failure by a Parish Councillor to comply with the Code of Conduct.
  • To conduct hearings on behalf of the Parish Council.
  • To advise the Council on the adoption or revision of the Members Code of Conduct.
  • To receive reports from the Monitoring Officer and assessing the operation and effectiveness of the Members Code of Conduct. The Monitoring Officer shall report the outcome of all complaints to the committee including those complaints which failed the Initial Intake Test and Assessment Test.
  • To advise, train or arrange training for Members and Co-opted Members on matters relating to the Members’ Code of Conduct.
  • To hear and determine complaints about Members and Co-opted Members referred to it by the Monitoring Officer.
  • To maintain oversight of the Council’s arrangements for dealing with standards complaints.
  • To inform Council and the Chief Executive of relevant issues arising from the determination of Code of Conduct complaints.
  • To grant dispensations after consultation with the Independent Person pursuant to S33(2) (b), (c) and (e) of the Localism Act 2011.
  • To hear and determine appeals against refusal to grant dispensations by the Monitoring Officer pursuant to S33(2)(a) and (d) of the Localism Act 2011.

Other matters

The Council

The Audit and Risk Scrutiny Committee reports to Council.

Sub-Committees/Working/Consultation Groups appointed by an reporting to Standards Committee

The Audit and Risk Scrutiny Committee may appoint a sub-committee to conduct a Hearing into an allegation that a Member or Co-opted Member has breached the Authority’s Code of Conduct.

Following a Hearing, the Sub-Committee may make one of the following findings:

  1. That the Member has not failed to comply with the Code of Conduct and no further action needs to be taken in respect of the matters considered at the Hearing.
  2. That the Member has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct but that no further action needs to be taken in respect of the matters considered at the Hearing.
  3. That the Member has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct and that a sanction and/or an informal resolution should be imposed.

The Sub-Committee may impose any action or combination of actions available to it, or impose any informal resolution or combination of informal resolutions as are available to it by law or policy.

After making a finding the sub-committee shall, as soon as reasonably practicable provide written notice of its findings and the reasons for its decision to the Member and complainant.

The Standards Committee may appoint working or consultation groups for the proper discharge of its functions.

Monitoring Officer

Unless otherwise restricted by legislative or regulatory provision the Standards Committee may delegate any of its functions to the Monitoring Officer.

Training

A member appointed to the Audit and Risk Scrutiny Committee may not speak and/or vote at a meeting of the Committee of Sub-Committee in relation to an investigation and/or taking action on a complaint until he/she has undertaken appropriate training approved or organised by or on behalf of the Council.

Lead Officer

The Monitoring Officer.

Powers of the Standards Sub-Committee

The Council has delegated to the Sub-Committee such of its powers to take action in respect of individual members as may be necessary to promote and maintain high standards of conduct. Accordingly the Sub- Committee may:

  1. Publish its findings in respect of member conduct;
  2. Recommend to Council that he/she be issued with a formal censure (or to the Parish Council);
  3. Issue a formal letter to the Councillor (or Parish Councillor) found to have breached the code;
  4. Recommend to the member’s Group Leader (or in the case of un-grouped members, recommend to Council or to Committees) that he/she be removed from any or all Committees or Sub-Committees of the Council subject to statutory and constitutional requirements;
  5. Recommend to the Leader of the Council that the member be removed from the Cabinet, or removed from particular Portfolio responsibilities;
  6. Instruct the Monitoring Officer to (or recommend that the Parish Council) arrange training for the member;
  7. Recommend removal (or recommend to the Parish Council that the member be removed) from all outside appointments to which he/she has been appointed or nominated by the authority (or by the Parish Council);
  8. Withdraw (or recommend to the Parish Council that it withdraws) facilities provided to the member by the Council, such as a computer, website and/or email and internet access; or
  9. Exclude (or recommend that the Parish Council exclude) the member from the Council’s Offices or other premises, with the exception of meeting rooms as necessary for attending Council, Committee and Sub-Committee meetings.

The Sub-Committee has no power to suspend or disqualify the member or to withdraw members’ or special responsibility allowances.

Any decision of the District Council on sanctions in relation to a Parish Council can only in effect be a recommendation to the Parish Council, who must then itself decide whether to accept the recommendation. The District Council could only make a finding of breach/ no breach and then recommend a course of action to the Parish Council.

 

 


Last Updated on Tuesday, January 25, 2022