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Complain about a Councillor or co-opted member

Councillors must follow the Councillors Code of Conduct (PDF) [200KB]

You can complain to us if you think that a councillor has failed to follow the Code of Conduct. The code sets out the conduct expected of elected and co-opted members of the council when they are acting in that capacity. 'Co-opted member' means any person who is a member of any committee or subcommittee of the council but is not one of its elected members.

This means the code applies whenever they:

  • conduct the business of the council (including the business of their office as an elected councillor or co-opted member) or 
  • act, claim to act or give the impression they are acting as a representative of the council. 

We have Arrangements for dealing with complaints about Councillors (Word doc) [38KB]  to follow when there's allegations of Members or Co-opted Members of the council or a Committee or Sub-committee of the council, failing to follow the Code of Conduct. 

Through a recruitment process we have appointed one Independent Person. They will be invited to attend meetings of the Audit and Standards Committee. Their views will be taken into consideration before the Committee takes any decision on whether a Member's conduct constitutes a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct. Their views will also be asked for when taking any action following a finding of failure to comply with the Code of Conduct. The Independent Person does not have voting rights on the Audit and Standards Committee (committee) or Audit and Standards (Investigations and Hearings) Sub-Committee (sub-committee). Their role is an advisory one.

We must get their views before we take a decision on an allegation we've decided we should investigate. We can request the views of the Independent person at any other stage.

How to complain

If you think that a councillor has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct, send your complaint in writing to:

The Monitoring Officer
Gateshead Council
Civic Centre
Regent Street
Gateshead
NE8 1HH

Or email mikebarker@gateshead.gov.uk

Make sure you provide enough information for the Monitoring Officer to investigate. If we request further information and it's not received, then we'll take no further action.  

You'll receive an acknowledgement of the complaint from the Monitoring Officer. We'll provide the councillor with a copy of the complaint within five working days of us receiving it. We'll keep both you and the councillor informed of the progress of the complaint. 

If the complaint identifies criminal conduct or breach of other regulation by any person, the Monitoring Officer may refer the complaint to the Police or other regulatory agencies irrespective of your request for confidentiality.

Anonymous complaints and confidentiality

Tell us if you want to keep your name and address confidential. If granted confidentiality and the complaint proceeds the Monitoring Officer will decide if or when the subject member is told of the complaint and your identity. We will adjust the procedure to suit the decision of the Monitoring Officer.

We'll tell you if the Monitoring Officer refuses your confidentiality request. You'll then get the option to withdraw the complaint within seven working days. If you withdraw your complaint the matter will be then closed. We'll not inform the subject member of the complaint. 

If you refuse to withdraw the complaint or don't respond within seven working days, we'll send the subject member a copy of the complaint. The complaint will then proceed as set out.

We'll not normally investigate anonymous complaints unless there is clear public interest.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

If you're unhappy with the outcome you can complain to the Local Government and Social Care ombudsman. They'll investigate if we were at fault in the way we considered the complaint. 

For more information visit Local Government and Social Care ombudsman (opens new window) complaints about standards and member conduct.

Register of interests

The Localism Act 2011 (opens new window) requires councillors to register 'disclosable pecuniary interests'. These are either an interest of the member's or an interest of member's spouse or partner. It is also part of the Councillors Code of Conduct.

All councillors complete a form for registration of interests. This is available on each councillors web page.

The register of interests is maintained by the Monitoring Officer. 

Contact us

For more information contact the Monitoring Officer:

Mike Barker mikebarker@gateshead.gov.uk or call 0191 433 2100.