Local Assessment of Code of Conduct Complaints by jlc37644

VIEWS: 0 PAGES: 15

									   Local
Assessment
    of
  Code of
 Conduct
Complaints
Background
   On 08 May 2008 – the local assessment of Code of
    Conduct complaints was implemented due to the
    introduction of the Local Government and Public
    Involvement in Health Act 2007, which amends the
    Local Government Act 2000.

   Initial complaints about members ethical conduct no
    longer go to the Standards Board for England and
    must be assessed locally.

   Code of Conduct complaints are now dealt with by
    Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Standards
    Committee Assessment Sub-Committee and Review
    Sub-Committee.
Stage One (Making a
Complaint)
   All Code of Conduct complaints should now be
    addressed to the Chair of the Standards Committee,
    care of the Council’s Monitoring Officer at Stockton-
    on-Tees Borough Council, Municipal Buildings, Po Box
    11, Church Road, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 1LD.

   Complaints should be made in writing. Complaint
    forms and guidance notes for complainants are
    available on the authority’s website at:
    http://stockton.gov.uk/yourcouncil/standprob


   On receiving a complaint, the Monitoring Officer will
    determine whether the complaint appears to be a
    substantive allegation of member misconduct, rather
    than a policy / service disagreement, a complaint
    against an Officer or some other form of alleged
    procedural or administrative irregularity.

   If the complaint appears to be a conduct matter
    relating to a member, the complaint will be
    acknowledged in writing by the Monitoring Officer,
    which will include a request for any additional
    information.
Stage Two (Assessment
Sub-Committee)

   Within 20 working days of receiving the misconduct
    complaint an Assessment Sub-Committee meeting will
    be arranged to consider the complaint.

   An Assessment Sub-Committee will be formed from
    Standard Committee members and shall consist of at
    least three members, with an independent co-opted
    chair, at least one elected member of the Council and
    a parish representative when considering a
    misconduct matter relating to a Parish or Town
    Council.

   The Assessment Sub-Committee meetings are held in
    private and no representations from the member
    complained about are received, as the meeting is an
    assessment of a complaint and is not a determination
    of the complaint based on any findings of fact.
Stage Two (Assessment
Sub-Committee)
   The Assessment Sub-Committee will consider the
    information provided in relation to the complaint, and
    will decide whether or not any further action is justified,
    taking into account the assessment criteria / guidance
    documents which are available to help the Sub-
    Committee reach their decision.
    http://sbcinternet/resources/council/stanprob/locaassess/revasssubcrit
    .doc

   The Assessment Sub-Committee’s decision will be
    one of the following:

     – No action should be taken in respect of the
       allegation
     – Refer the allegation to the Monitoring Officer or
       Standards Board for England for Investigation
     – Refer the allegation to the Monitoring Officer for
       other action (mediation, training, conciliation, etc)
     – Refer the allegation to the Monitoring Officer of
       another authority, if the member is no longer a
       member of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council but
       is a member of that other authority.
Stage Two (Assessment
Sub-Committee)

   As far as is reasonably practicable (usually 5 working
    days) the complainant, subject member and clerk (if it
    is a Town or Parish Council matter) will be notified of
    the Assessment Sub-Committee’s determination via a
    decision notice. This notice will detail the reasons for
    the decision.

   If the Assessment Sub-Committee decide that
    investigation or other action is appropriate the
    complaint will be referred to the Monitoring Officer.
    However, the Sub-Committee can refer a matter to the
    Standards Board for England (see assessment criteria
    document).

   If the Assessment Sub-Committee determine that no
    action is warranted, the decision notice will confirm
    that the complainant has a right to a review of the
    decision should a request be made in writing within 30
    days of the date of the decision notice.
Stage Three (Review Sub-
Committee)
   On receiving a valid review request a Review Sub-
    Committee meeting will take place within 3 months of
    the date the request was received, although attempts
    will be made for the Review Sub-Committee meeting
    to take place as soon as practicably possible (usually
    within 20 days of receipt of the request).


   A Review Sub-Committee will be formed from
    Standard Committee members and shall consist of at
    least three sub-committee members, with an
    independent co-opted chair, at least one elected
    member of the Council and a parish representative
    when considering a misconduct matter relating to a
    Parish or Town Council.


   The Review Sub-Committee will not consist of any
    member who took part in the original assessment of
    the complaint.
Stage Three (Review Sub-
Committee)

   The Review Sub-Committee will be conducted in two
    stages:

     – To determine whether the original decision was
       unreasonable based on the information at the
       time.
     – To consider any new evidence which
       demonstrates the initial decision is no longer
       sustainable.

   The Review Sub-Committee’s decision will be either:

     – No action should be taken in respect of the
       allegation
     – Refer the allegation to the Monitoring Officer or
       Standards Board for England for investigation
     – Refer the allegation to the Monitoring Officer for
       other action (mediation, training, conciliation, etc)
     – Refer the allegation to the Monitoring Officer of
       another authority, if the member is no longer a
       member of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council but
       is a member of that other authority
Stage Three (Review Sub-
Committee)

   As far as is reasonably practicable (usually 5 working
    days) the complainant, subject member and clerk (if it
    is Town or Parish Council matter) will be notified of the
    Review Sub-Committee’s determination via a decision
    notice. This notice will detail the reasons for the
    decision.

   If the Review Sub-Committee determine investigation
    or other action is appropriate the complaint will be
    referred to the Monitoring Officer. However, the Sub-
    committee can refer a matter to the Standards Board
    for England (see assessment criteria document).

   If the Review Sub-Committee determine that no action
    is appropriate, the decision notice will confirm that this
    is the end of the process and that there is no further
    right of appeal to the Council against this decision.
Stage Four (Other Action)

   If the Assessment or Review Sub-Committees
    determine that a matter should be referred to the
    Monitoring Officer the subject member and
    complainant will be contacted by the Monitoring Officer
    regarding the other action proposed (mediation,
    training, conciliation, etc).

   Following attempts to reach a resolution with the
    subject member and complainant, the Monitoring
    Officer will report back to the Sub-Committee on the
    action proposed and / or taken.

   If the Sub-Committee are not satisfied with the action
    proposed and / or taken, or the response, they can
    make a further direction to the Monitoring Officer. This
    direction cannot however include investigation, as this
    option is no longer available once other action has
    been chosen.

   Once the Sub-Committee is satisfied with the action
    proposed and / or taken or the response the complaint
    will be closed and the subject member and
    complainant will be advised accordingly.
Stage Five (Referral to the
Monitoring Officer for
Investigation)
   If the Assessment or Review Sub-Committees decide
    that a matter should be referred to the Monitoring
    Officer for investigation, the Monitoring Officer will
    appoint an Investigator locally.

   Once appointed the Investigator will write to the
    complainant and subject member to introduce
    themselves and to confirm details of the forthcoming
    investigation process.

   Investigations / enquiries will be made by the
    Investigator and in most cases a draft report produced,
    which will detail the findings and the investigators
    opinion on whether or not there has been a breach of
    the Code of Conduct.

   The draft report will be forwarded to the complainant
    and subject member for comments. The Investigator
    will then finalise the report having considered any
    comments made.

   The Investigator’s report will then be considered by the
    Standards Committee’s Consideration Sub-Committee
    who will determine if the findings of the report are
    agreed or not.
Stage Five (Consideration
Sub-Committee)
   A Consideration Sub-Committee will be formed from
    Standard Committee members and shall consist of at
    least three sub-committee members, with an
    independent co-opted chair, at least one elected
    member of the Council and a parish representative
    when considering a misconduct matter relating to a
    Parish or Town Council.

   Assessment / Review Sub-Committee members may
    also sit on the Consideration Sub-Committee in
    connection with the same complaint.

   At the Consideration Sub-Committee meeting the
    Investigator will attend to present his report orally. The
    Sub-Committee will determine whether the meeting is
    open to the press and public or to be held in private
    and will be able to ask the investigator any relevant
    questions.

   Having considered the investigation report the
    Consideration Sub-Committee’s decision will be either:

     - that it accepts the finding of the report of no failure
     - that the matter should be considered at a hearing
     - that the matter should be referred to the
       Adjudication Panel for England for determination.
Stage Five (Consideration
Sub-Committee)

   If there is a case to answer the Sub-Committee will
    direct the Monitor Officer to make arrangements for a
    hearing or refer the matter to the Adjudication Panel
    for England (APE).
   A referral to the APE will only be made if the
    Consideration Sub-Committee agree that a serious
    breach of the Code may have taken place and that the
    sanctions available to the Standards Committee are
    insufficient. The President of APE must also have
    indicated that he is willing to accept such a referral.
   The APE process is by means of a referral to a quasi-
    judicial case tribunal. The sanctions available include
    suspension not exceeding 12 months / disqualification
    not exceeding 5 years. http://www.adjudicationpanel.co.uk/

   If The Sub Committee considers that there is no case
    to answer the relevant parties will be notified and the
    case will be closed.

   The Consideration Sub-Committee will in each case
    explain the reasons for their decision.

   The Sub Committee also has a statutory duty to
    publish a finding of no failure, unless the subject
    member requests the Sub Committee not to do so.
Stage Six (Hearing)
   A Hearing Sub-Committee will be formed from
    Standard Committee members and shall consist of
    three to five members, with an independent co-opted
    chair, at least one elected member of the Council and
    a parish representative when considering a
    misconduct matter relating to a Parish or Town
    Council.

   Standards Committee members involved in the
    complaint’s initial assessment / review can take part in
    a subsequent Hearing Sub-Committee.

   A Consideration Sub-Committee member should not
    take part on a Hearing Sub-Committee that deals with
    the same complaint.

   The hearing is a formal meeting of the Council and not
    a court of law. It will consider verbal and written
    presentations regarding any disagreements about the
    facts of the case, in accordance with its agreed
    procedures.
Stage Six (Hearing)
   Factual evidence will be decided on the balance of
    probabilities.


   The hearing is a three stage process and the Hearing
    Sub-Committee will:

    1. Make findings of fact.
    2. Based on the finding of facts decide whether or not
    the Code of Conduct has been breached.
    3. If a breach is found, determine what sanction/s are
    appropriate, if any.


   The Hearing Sub-Committee may also make any
    additional recommendations to the relevant authority
    with a view to improving members ethical conduct.

								
To top