How to complain about a councillor

Councillors in Salford have to abide by a code of conduct. If you feel a councillor has broken any of the rules in the code of conduct, you can complain to Salford City Council’s Monitoring Officer.

How do I complain?

Please use our online form below or by emailing membersservices@salford.gov.uk.

Please include all of the information we have asked for below.

Make a complaint about a councillor

Your complaint must be about:

  1. a named councillor or councillors who is an elected member for Salford City Council and
  2. must involve behaviour covered by the code of conduct

How we use your information

The council will use your personal information for the purpose of delivering the service as requested by you by completing this form. Detailed information about how the council handles personal information is set out in the council’s Primary Privacy Notice and Service Specific Privacy Notices which are accessible on our General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) page.

What type of behaviour is covered by the code of conduct?

Broadly, the code requires councillors:

  • Not to use their position improperly to their own or someone else's advantage, or disadvantage
  • Not to use their councils' resources improperly
  • Not to do anything to prevent council employees being unbiased
  • Not to bully anyone
  • Not to intimidate anyone involved in an investigation or proceedings about someone's misconduct
  • Not to disclose confidential information
  • Not to stop anyone gaining access to information they are entitled to by law
  • Not to discriminate unlawfully

What information should I include in my complaint?

Please include the following details in your complaint.

Whether you are a:

  • Member of the public
  • An elected or co-opted member of an authority
  • An independent member of the standards committee
  • Member of Parliament
  • Local Authority Monitoring Officer
  • Other council officer or authority employee
  • The name of the councillor that you believe has breached the code of conduct for members
  • What the councillor has done that you believe breaches the code of conduct. (If you are complaining about more than one councillor you should clearly explain what each individual person has done that you believe breaches the code of conduct)
  • It is important that you provide all the information you wish to have taken into account

For example:

  • You should be specific, wherever possible; about exactly what you are alleging the councillor said or did. For instance, instead of writing that the councillor insulted you, you should state what it was that they said.
  • You should provide the dates of the alleged incidents wherever possible. If you cannot provide exact dates it is important to give a general time frame.
  • You should confirm whether there are any witnesses to the alleged conduct and provide their names and contact details if possible.
  • You should provide any relevant background information.

What will happen to my complaint?

In certain straightforward circumstances your complaint will not be considered. This will happen if:

  • the person you are complaining about is no longer a councillor, or
  • the conduct you are complaining about happened in the councillor's private life, not when they were acting as a councillor; or
  • the complaint, if proven, would not be a breach of the Code of Conduct under which the Member was operating at the time of the alleged misconduct or
  • the conduct you are complaining about happened over a year before you complained, or you knew of it for more than six months before you complained

If your complaint is considered, we will normally send a copy of your complaint to the councillor you are complaining about, who can submit any written comments he/she may wish to make.

If you don’t want the councillor to have your complaint please let us know why and what you are concerned about. The Monitoring Officer will then decide whether they can, or should, proceed with the matter anonymously.

If they decide that this information should not be withheld from the councillor, we will discuss this with you and agree how best to proceed.

In certain exceptional circumstances where the matter complained about is very serious, we can proceed with an investigation or other action and disclose your name even if you have expressly asked us not to. We will not do this without telling you about it.

The Monitoring Officer will try to acknowledge receipt of the complaint within ten working days of receiving it and, at the same time, write to the councillor.

The councillor may, within five working days of receipt, make written representations to the Monitoring Officer which must be taken into account when deciding how the complaint should be dealt with. Representations received after this time may be taken into account, at the discretion of the Monitoring Officer, but won’t be considered after the Monitoring Officer has issued the initial assessment of the complaint.

When written responses from the councillor have been received the Monitoring Officer will review the complaint and, following consultation with a person independent of the Council, take a decision (initial assessment) as to whether it should be rejected, or it merits investigation or another course of action. This decision will normally be taken within 20 working days of receipt of a complaint.

The options open to the Monitoring Officer and independent person are:

  1. to take no action on your complaint (see * below), or
  2. to attempt to resolve the matter informally, or
  3. to refer the matter to the standards committee; or
  4. to arrange for an investigation to be carried out by an independent investigator. If the investigator considers the councillor concerned did not breach the code of conduct, you will be informed of this. If the investigator considers the councillor did breach the code, a formal hearing will be arranged as in 'c' above.

If, at a hearing, the panel of councillors decides the councillor you are complaining about did breach the code of conduct, they may formally censure him/her, and/or give to their findings whatever level of publicity they consider appropriate. By law they have no power to suspend or disqualify the councillor concerned, although they can make recommendations to the council, such as that the councillor be removed from a particular committee or position he/she holds.

* No action will be taken when the Monitoring Officer and Independent Person are of the view that any of the following applies:

  • there is no prima facie evidence that the code has been breached
  • taking into account the nature of the allegation, using public funds to examine the matter further would be disproportionate
  • the complaint appears to be vexatious, politically motivated, tit-for-tat or made by a persistent complainant
  • the conduct complained about has already been the subject of investigation or enquiry by another public body
  • 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
  • there is not enough information to take the matter further
  • the complaint was made anonymously
  • the complainant has requested that their identity as complainant be withheld from the councillor, and the matter cannot reasonably be taken further in these circumstances
  • the councillor has already apologised for the action that was the subject of the complaint, and that is sufficient to dispose of the complaint
  • the complaint is essentially against the action of the council as a whole and cannot properly be directed against an individual member(s)

For further information on how the council deals with complaints made against a councillor and the code of conduct for elected members please see the links below.

In line with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 2000 we can make reasonable adjustments to assist you if you have a disability that prevents you from using the form. We can also help if English is not your first language. If you need any support in completing the form please let us know. Please telephone 0161 793 3618.

Or you can write to:

The Monitoring Officer
Salford City Council
Civic Centre
Chorley Road
Swinton
M27 5AW

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