Complaints about councillors

You can make a complaint about a district or parish councillor within the Wycombe district if you feel he or she has breached the code of conduct. You will need to refer to the clauses of the code of conduct you believe to have been breached.

Complaints about a Wycombe district councillor

Complaints about a parish councillor within Wycombe district

  • See parish councils for contact details: contact the parish clerk to obtain a copy of the parishes code of conduct

Complaints about a Bucks CC councillor

This procedure cannot be used for complaints about decisions made by a council or a committee of any council.

How to make a complaint about a councillor

If you think that a district or parish councillor has broken the code of conduct you can send a complaint to:

Standards complaints
Complaints Officer
Democratic, Legal & Policy Services
Wycombe District Council
Queen Victoria Road
High Wycombe HP11 1BB

You can use the councillor complaints form to register your complaint:

This can be scanned and attached to your email or posted to us. The complaint must be made in writing and include evidence as to why you believe the councillor has breached the code of conduct, and which particular paragraph(s) of the code you feel may have been breached.

You will receive an acknowledgement within three working days of receipt and the complaint will normally be assessed within 14 working days of receipt.

What will happen to your complaint?

Your complaint will first be reviewed by the Monitoring Officer. You need to be aware that the Monitoring Officer may dismiss your complaint or request additional information if:

  1. the person you are complaining about is no longer a councillor
  2. the conduct you are complaining about happened more than six months before you complained
  3. the conduct you are complaining about happened in the councillor's private life, not when they were acting as a councillor
  4. the complaint is essentially against the action of the council as a whole and cannot properly be directed against individual member(s)
  5. the complaint is made anonymously
  6. there is no evidence that the code has been breached or there is not enough information to take the matter further
  7. the same or substantially the same issue has been the subject of a previous code of conduct allegation and there is nothing further to be gained

If your complaint is not dismissed for any of these reasons, it will then be considered in three stages - the aim being to reach a satisfactory resolution.

Under stages one and two only the details contained on your complaint form will be considered. Therefore it is very important that you set your complaint out briefly, clearly and provide all the information you wish to be considered. The information provided should only be relevant to the alleged breaches of the code as the Monitoring Officer cannot consider any other subject of complaint. Please identify clearly the paragraphs of the code you believe may have been breached by the councillor(s) and under each one provide the reason why you believe it has been breached.

Stage one

We will tell the councillor what you are complaining about and that we have received a complaint and provide them with a copy, unless you have completed section 5 of the form requesting confidentiality and there is a good reason for your identity to be withheld.

The councillor will be invited to respond within 20 working days, including in his or her response any suggestion to resolve the complaint. This response will be made available to you and you will be asked if you are satisfied with it, or whether you wish your complaint to be considered further under stage two. If you are satisfied with the response, no further action will be taken, or the action proposed by the councillor will proceed.

Stage two

Your complaint will then be considered by the Council's Monitoring Officer in consultation with a duly appointed independent person whose views will be taken into account. The Monitoring Officer will decide whether your complaint should be referred for investigation. This will normally happen within 20 working days of the date of the commencement of stage two.

Stage three

Only if a complaint is serious enough to merit formal investigation will the Monitoring Officer appoint an investigator, who will review the evidence submitted. The investigator may meet with the complainant and the councillor who is the subject of the complaint and others as appropriate to the complaint. An investigation report will then be provided to the Monitoring Officer.

If a breach is identified, the Monitoring Officer may either decide:

  1. After consulting with the independent person that a local resolution is appropriate and can be achieved or
  2. That the matter should be referred to a standards hearing panel, in line with the hearing panel procedure

Hearing panel - possible outcomes

If a complaint has been assessed, then investigated and referred to the hearing panel, the panel has a range of possible actions including, in serious cases, censure or reprimand of the councillor concerned.

The hearing panel has no power to suspend or disqualify the councillor or to withdraw councillors' basic or special responsibility allowances.

It is important to note that our hearing panel and the Monitoring Officer have no powers to instruct parish councils to take any particular action, but can recommend a particular action to them.

Appeals

There is no right of appeal for you as complainant, or for the councillor, against a decision of the Monitoring Officer or of the hearing panel.