Councillor complaints

Councillors and Co-opted Members, collectively known as “Members” of the County Council are required to conduct themselves in accordance with a locally agreed Code of Conduct.

If you believe that a Member has breached the Code of Conduct and wish to discuss your concerns informally, contact the Monitoring Officer, Victoria McNeill on 01603 223415.

The following arrangements constitute Norfolk County Council’s procedure for dealing with complaints that a Member has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct;

A complaint must be made on the council’s model complaint form or, if submitted in any other way, must contain all the information required by that form.

When you take this action, the person you are complaining about will be notified about the complaint.

The Monitoring Officer will consider the complaint against the Council’s adopted criteria for deciding whether a complaint should be referred for formal investigation or some other action.

The Monitoring Officer may consult the Council’s “Independent Person” before making a decision. Any functions of the Monitoring Officer in this procedure may be delegated to the Deputy Monitoring Officer and the Monitoring Officer, the Deputy Monitoring Officer and the Independent Person may consult or seek input of an Independent Person from another authority as appropriate at their discretion.

If the Monitoring Officer decides not to refer the complaint for investigation or for other action then the matter is closed.

There is no provision for appeal or review of that decision by the Council or any other person.

The Monitoring Officer will give a summary of the reasons for their decision.

If the Monitoring Officer decides that the complaint requires investigation the Monitoring Officer will appoint a person to investigate and to report back to them.

If the conclusion of the investigation is that there has been no breach of the Code and the Monitoring Officer considers that that is a reasonable conclusion then the Monitoring Officer will write to the complainant and the member concerned to inform them that there will be no further action.

There is no provision for appeal or review of that decision by the Council or any other person.

If the investigation concludes that there is evidence of a breach of the Code then the Monitoring Officer will consult the Independent Person and make a decision either to:

  • Resolve the matter without the need for a hearing, or
  • Convene a meeting of the Council’s Standards Committee or a sub-committee of the Standards Committee to hear the matter

The procedure at the hearing will be in accordance with standing orders adopted by Norfolk County Council.

If the hearing concludes that there has been no breach of the Code then the matter is resolved.

There is no provision for appeal or review of that decision by the council or any other person.

If the hearing concludes that there has been a breach of the Code the Committee will consider whether and what sanction it might be appropriate to impose on the member found to be in default.

These are as follows:

  • Censure or reprimand
  • Report to full Council
  • Recommendations to the Council to remove the member from membership of Committees or Sub-Committees
  • Recommendation to the Council to remove the member from any position (including Leader) of the Executive
  • Require the member to undergo training in Ethics and Standards
  • Removal of the member from external nominations or appointments
  • Withdrawal of facilities or services from the member including access to Council premises and/or IT facilities

The Council has appointed a Standards Committee of seven members on a politically balanced basis.

Its terms of reference include:

  • The promotion and maintenance of high standards of conduct by the members and co-opted members of the Authority
  • To assist members and co-opted members of the Authority in observing the Code of Conduct
  • To receive and consider the findings of the Monitoring Officer and/or Independent Person in relation to alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct
  • To impose such sanctions as are permitted and they think fit in relation to matters found to be breaches of the Code
  • To hear and determine applications from members for dispensations under section 33 of the Localism Act 2011