Democratic services – complaints against Councillors

Who do you keep information about?

We keep information provided by the following persons:

  1. Complainant – complaint form, emails and correspondence. Witness statement and any other documentary evidence submitted.
  2. Witnesses - emails and correspondence. Witness statement and any other documentary evidence submitted.
  3. Member (Councillor) being investigated - emails and correspondence. Witness statement and any other documentary evidence submitted.

Material about any of the above persons may also be included in an investigation report, decision notices and also the written findings of the Member Standards Hearing Committee.

Why do you keep information about me?

The Council has a legal duty to deal with complaints against members who are alleged to have broken the Members Code of Conduct. The procedure follows statutory requirements and those adopted by Council.

Section 28(6) of the Localism Act 2011 requires the Council to have arrangements in place to deal with complaints made against members of the Borough Council and Parish Councils in the Borough, to enable complaints to be investigated and decisions taken about whether the Members Code of Conduct has been broken.

The information that is gathered as part of any investigation will be used to determine whether the matter being investigated will proceed to a full hearing and if it does it will then form part of the evidence that the Member Standards Hearing Committee will consider.

The arrangements for dealing with complaints against members helps to ensure that there is appropriate oversight of complaints made about elected members in the Borough.

Who can see my information?

Complaints are initially restricted to Monitoring Officer and the Democratic Services Officer (and Parish Council Clerk - if it relates to a Parish Councillor) and the Independent Person.

If following the initial assessment by the Monitoring Officer the complaint is to be investigated, then details are shared with the Investigating officer. Further information will be shared during the investigation as necessary to carry out the investigation. 

If the complaint proceeds to a hearing, the information will be shared during the hearing. The Member Standards Hearing Committee will decide whether the hearing will be in public and also about what hearing documentation should be made publicly available.

After the hearing the Member Standards Hearing Committee will decided if its findings should be published.

How do you store the information you keep about me?

  1. Details are stored on drives with restricted access (monitoring officer, investigating officer, Democratic Services).
  2. Hard copy material (for hearings/or investigation purposes) is securely stored in Democratic Services and/or Legal Services
  3. Councils website – if a decision is taken about the Member Standards Hearing Committee that its finding should be published (note - the material published will normally only relate to the member who has been complained against, but it depends on the facts of each case)

Is my information transferred to a third country or international organisation?

No – but material that is freely available on the Councils website will be accessible from any location (for instance decisions that are published about the findings of the Member Standards Hearing Committee).

How long do you keep information about me?

Electronic and paper records will be kept for 6 years after the complaint has been determined and will then be destroyed.  

Is my information used to make an automated decision about me and/or for profiling purposes?

No.

How did the Council get my personal data?

Information is provided by the complainant, witnesses and the member who has been complained about, for the purpose of dealing with the complaint that has been made. 

What sort of information do you keep?

The following information may be disclosed:

Personal data:

  1. Name
  2. One or more factors specific to the physical identity of a natural person
  3. One or more factors specific to the physiological identity of a natural person
  4. One or more factors specific to the mental identity of a person
  5. One or more factors specific to the economic identity of a person
  6. One or more factors specific to the cultural identity of a person
  7. One or more factors specific to the social identity of a person

Special categories of personal data:

  1. Racial or ethnic origin
  2. Political Opinions
  3. Religious or philosophical beliefs
  4. Trade union membership
  5. Data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation