Make a complaint about a Councillor
Members of the Council (both elected and appointed) must abide by a Code of Conduct which governs their behaviour and actions when carrying out their roles and duties as members of the local authority.
If you have a complaint about a Councillor, and you consider that he or she has breached this Code, you should complete either an electronic or paper complaint form.
Before you start
This form is for submitting complaints about the conduct of a Councillor. It should not be used to dispute a decision, or to make a complaint about a council service. In this case, you should use the main complaints procedure.
A complaint will normally only be admissible if you are permanently resident within the borough; if you are not, then you should explain your special circumstances when you submit your complaint.
Make sure you explain in the form what the member has done that you believe breaches the Code of Conduct, and specify the paragraph(s) of the code which you believe has been breached.
If you are complaining about more than one Member you should clearly explain what each individual person has done that you believe breaches the code.
It is important that you provide all the information you wish to have taken into account by the Monitoring Officer. For example, you should:
- Be specific, whenever possible, about exactly what you are alleging the member said or did. For instance, instead of writing that the member failed to treat you with respect, you should state what it was they said
- Provide the dates of the alleged incidents wherever possible. If you cannot provide exact dates it is important to give a general time frame
- Confirm whether there are any witnesses to the alleged conduct and provide their names and contact details if possible
- Provide any relevant background information or documentation
Anonymous complaints are difficult to progress effectively as there is no channel of communication for clarifying and progressing the complaint.
If a complaint is received anonymously, it will only be referred for investigation or other appropriate action if it includes evidence indicating an exceptionally serious or significant breach of the code.
You will need
- The name(s) of the Member(s) of Wandsworth Council you believe have breached the Code of Conduct. Use our online tool to find a Councillor.
- The details of your complaint. It is advisable to type this in a separate document before copying and pasting into the form, in case of form time-out.
- Up to five pieces of evidence if you wish to provide these. You will have the opportunity to provide any extra pieces of evidence later in the process. These files should be less than 2MB each.
What happens next
The Monitoring Officer will check the admissibility of the complaint. For example, the complaint must relate to an alleged breach of the local Members’ Code of Conduct and it must not be trivial or vexatious; it may be necessary to contact the complainant to clarify this.
The Monitoring Officer will acknowledge receipt of any admissible complaint within 20 working days, and will inform the Member who is the subject of the complaint. Normally, the subject Member will be told which paragraph of the Code of Conduct a complaint relates to, and the identity of the complainant.
The options available to the Monitoring Officer regarding an admissible complaint, following consultation with at least one of the Independent Persons and an elected Member from each of the political groups serving on the Standards Committee, are:
- To reject the complaint and to take no further action other than explaining this decision to the complainant in writing and reporting his decision to the next Standards Committee meeting
- To contact the complainant and the subject Member and for the Monitoring Officer to determine whether some "informal" and immediate action would be the most appropriate response in order to resolve the complaint; for example, for the Member to make an apology or to offer an explanation. Following any such "informal" action the Monitoring Officer would take no further action other than reporting the outcome to the next Standards Committee meeting
- To refer the matter for formal investigation by the Monitoring Officer or another officer he or she nominates, and subsequent consideration by the Standards Committee
The Monitoring Officer will, whenever considered to be appropriate and practicable, seek resolution of admissible complaints without formal investigation.
Complaints referred for investigation
If the complaint is referred for investigation, a council officer with appropriate skills and experience, or exceptionally, a person from outside the council (such as the Monitoring Officer of another authority or a consultant with appropriate skills and experience) will be appointed to investigate the complaint. The investigating officer will prepare a report and when it is finalised, send a copy to the complainant and subject Member.
When there is no evidence of breach of the code
If the report finds that there is no, or insufficient, evidence of a breach of the code and the Standards Committee agree with the conclusion, then the Monitoring Officer will advise the complainant and subject Member of the outcome and no further action will be taken. In the event that the Standards Committee considers that there has been a potential breach of the code, then a hearing will be arranged. Where a hearing by Standards Committee members is to take place, this will normally be within three months of the investigation report being completed.
How to make a complaint
Complaints must be submitted using the online form.
Reasonable adjustments can be made to assist you if you have a disability that prevents you from making your complaint in writing.
Alternatively, if you are not able to complete the online form, you should send a completed paper complaint form to the Council's Monitoring Officer, Abdus Choudhury.
The Town Hall,
Wandsworth High Street,
Wandsworth, SW18 2PU