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Home > The Council > Making a complaint about a councillor

Making a complaint about a councillor

All of our District Councillors and Parish Councillors must abide by the Suffolk Local Code of Conduct, adopted in 2012.

You can make a complaint about a Councillor if you think that a councillor has not followed the Code of Conduct. You will need to be clear about how you think the councillor has not followed the Code.

The Monitoring Officer can only deal with complaints about the behaviour of a Councillor which are covered by the Council's Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct only applies to a Councillor whilst undertaking his/her functions as a Councillor. It does not apply to a Councillor acting in their personal capacity.

The Monitoring Officer cannot deal with complaints about staff, such as Town Clerks, Parish Clerks, or officers.

You may complain about a councillor online here:

Make a complaint about a councillor

Alternatively, if your complaint is directed towards a Babergh and Mid Suffolk officer (non-councillor), please follow the link below:

Complain about a Babergh and Mid Suffolk officer

If you wish to complain about Town or Parish Council staff, please contact the respective council.

Contact

If you would like some informal advice before you submit your complaint, you can ring our Monitoring Officer Emily Yule on 01449 724694

What happens next

The Babergh and Mid Suffolk Monitoring Officer, in consultation with an independent person appointed by the Council, will investigate your complaint.

Our independent persons are:

  • Hazel Clark
  • Carey Godfrey
  • Susannah Westwood

Stage 1

The Monitoring Officer will make an initial assessment of your complaint to check that:

  • It is a complaint about a Councillor who must abide by either the Suffolk Local Code of Conduct or the code of conduct of a Parish/Town Council within Babergh or Mid Suffolk.
  • The councillor was in office at the time of the alleged breach of the relevant code of conduct.
  • It is clear that the complaint, if proven to be true, would be a breach of the relevant code of conduct.

If this is the case, we will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint.

Stage 2

A letter will be sent to the Councillor informing them of the complaint against them within 14 working days. The Parish Clerk will also be informed, or in the case of District Councillors, the Group Leader will be informed.

Stage 3

The case will be referred to an Independent Person after 14 days or upon receipt of the Councillor’s response.  The Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the Independent Person, will decide:

  • No action is needed.
  • Action is needed in the form of:
    • Referring the complaint to the Political Group Leader for resolution.
    • The Monitoring Officer resolving the complaint directly with the complainant.
    • Further investigation of the complaint.

Stage 4

This stage will be different depending on the outcome of Stage 3.

  • Referral to the Political Group Leader: The Monitoring Officer informs the Group Leader of the steps the independent person has decided on. The Group Leader will then carry out the actions within an agreed timescale.
  • Direct resolution: The Monitoring Officer will work directly with the complainant and the Councillor. This could involve things like an apology from the Councillor, the provision of training for the Councillor, or mediation.
  • Further investigation: The Monitoring Officer gathers more information, and may interview the complainant, the Councillor, or other witnesses. The gathered information is given to a new Independent Person. If this new Independent Person finds that there has been a breach of the Code of Conduct, they will then decide upon an action to be taken.

 

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint you can contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman does not offer a right of appeal against the Council's decision but can consider if there was any fault in the way the Monitoring Officer or Standards Committee considered the complaint. 

Contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman