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Members' Code of Conduct

In accordance with section 27(2) of the Localism Act 2011the Council has adopted a revised Code of Conduct for members, which took effect on 1 July 2012.

The Code of Conduct will apply, as before, to all elected members of the Council and co-opted members of Council committees. Other non-voting members of Council committees and bodies, and non-elected representatives of the Council on other organisations will also be expected to observe the revised Code of Conduct.

A copy of the pdf icon Code of Conduct [277kb] can be found on this website or can be inspected at the Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA during normal office hours.

How to complain

if you believe a councillor or co-opted member has failed to comply with the Council's Code of Conduct

Are you using the correct form?

The points listed below will help you decide whether this is the correct form to use when making your complaint. You should speak to Peter Snow, Principal Committee Manager, at the London Borough of Sutton by telephoning him on 020 8770 5119 or email him at peter.snow@sutton.gov.uk if you are not clear. The Council's Monitoring Officer, after consultation with the Independent Person appointed under the Localism Act 2011, will decide whether or not your complaint merits formal investigation.

  • Your complaint must be about conduct of a councillor or co-opted member that occurred while the member(s) complained about were in office. Conduct of an individual before they were elected, co-opted or appointed to the Authority, or after they have resigned or otherwise ceased to be a member, cannot be considered. 
  • The Code of Conduct came into effect on 1 July 2012. If your complaint concerns matters that occurred before 1 July 2012 you should contact Peter Snow before making your complaint to check whether it can be dealt with under the previous Code of Conduct.
  • Your complaint must be about one or more named members (which can include co-opted members) of the London Borough of Sutton.
  • Your complaint must be that the member(s) has, or may have, failed to comply with the Code of Conduct. A copy of the Code of Conduct is on the Council's web site at www.sutton.gov.uk. You may also contact Peter Snow if you require further information.
  • Complaints about dissatisfaction with a decision or action of the Authority or one of its committees, a service provided by the Authority or the Authority's procedures do not fall within the Code of Conduct. Complaints about the actions of people employed by the Authority also do not fall within the scope of the Code of Conduct. 
  • Your complaint must be in writing. If a disability prevents you from making your complaint in writing you may contact Peter Snow for assistance.

It is important to note that not every complaint alleging a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct will be referred for investigation or other action. The Council's monitoring Officer must decide whether this is appropriate. It will make this decision using the following referral criteria:-

  • The complaint, if proven, would be a failure to comply with the Code under which the member was operating at the time of the alleged misconduct
  • The complainant has submitted enough information to satisfy the Monitoring Officer that the complaint should be referred for investigation or other action
  • The complaint is about someone who is no longer a member of the Authority but is a member of another authority
  • The complaint has not already been the subject of an investigation or other action relating to the Code of Conduct, or an investigation by other regulatory authorities
  • The complaint is about something that happened so long ago that there would be little benefit in taking action now
  • The complaint is too trivial to warrant further action
  • The complaint appears to be malicious, politically motivated or vexatious

If the Monitoring Officer decides not to refer your complaint for investigation or other action he will give you the reasons for this decision.

What happens once you submit your complaint?

When you submit your complaint we will write to you to let you know we have received it. We will also normally tell the member that you are complaining about that we have received your complaint, who made the complaint and the relevant paragraphs of the Code of Conduct that it is alleged may not have been complied with.

The Council's Monitoring Officer will then consult the Independent Person regarding your complaint and decide whether it should be referred for investigation or other action. It is very important that you set your complaint out clearly and provide at the outset all the information you wish the Monitoring Officer and the Independent Person to consider.

The criteria that will be used to assess your complaint and decide whether it should be investigated are set out above.

We will notify you in writing whether your complaint has been referred for investigation or other action. At the same time we write to you, we will also write to the member(s) you have complained about. We will send these letters within five working days of the Monitoring Officer reaching his decision.

What is meant by 'other action'?

The Monitoring Officer may seek to resolve the complaint informally without the need for a formal investigation. Other action is a deliberately broad term that may include options such as requiring the person you have complained about to apologise or undergo training or mediation. The Monitoring Officer will carefully consider the circumstances surrounding your complaint when deciding whether other action is appropriate.

How should I set out my complaint?

It is very important that you set your complaint out fully and clearly, and provide all the information at the outset. You should also provide any documents or other material that you wish the Monitoring Officer and the Independent Person to consider, where possible.

We recommend that you use our complaint form or provide a covering note summarising what you are complaining about, especially if your complaint includes a lot of supporting documentation. In the summary you should tell us exactly what each person you are complaining about said or did that has caused you to complain. If you are sending supporting documentation please cross-reference it against the summary of your complaint.

You should be as detailed as possible and substantiate your complaint where you can. Although you are not required to prove your complaint at this stage of the proceedings, you do have to demonstrate that you have reasonable grounds for believing that the member(s) complained about has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct.

Where can I get further information?

You can read the Code of Conduct on the Council's web site at www.sutton.gov.uk and you can telephone Peter Snow in Democratic Services on 020 8770 5119 or email him at peter.snow@sutton.gov.uk

word icon Councillor Complaint Form [266kb]

Where do I send my complaint?

Send your complaint to:

Complaints Officer
Chief Executive's Group
London Borough of Sutton
Civic Offices
St Nicholas Way
Sutton
SM1 1EA

Or email it to:- complaints@sutton.gov.uk