Standards and Code of Conduct
The Localism Act 2011 introduced a new regime for standards and dealing with complaints against members. View Standards Decision Notices.
- Standards - Confidence in local democracy is paramount and can only be achieved when Councillors are seen to live up to the high standards the public expects.
- Code of Conduct - Every local authority must adopt a that sets out rules governing the behaviour of its councillors (members). All elected, co-opted and independent members of local authorities, including Parish Councils are covered by a Code.
South Holland District Council has adopted this Code of Conduct for its Councillors. It covers the following areas of individual behaviour:
Parish Councils are required to adopt their own Codes and make them available for inspection:
Register of Interests - Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
The Code of Conduct also contains rules governing Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPIs) that apply to both District and Parish Councillors. There is a requirement for Councillors to register their DPIs and for this information to be available on the District Council website for public inspection. Failure to register a DPI is a criminal offence.
Councillors are under a legal duty to disclose any interests that could potentially influence their actions as members of the Council.
This is done in two ways:
- All councillors must complete a declaration of pecuniary interest form, giving details of interests (such as land that they own or companies in which they hold a large number of shares). These declarations are held by Democratic Services, and are available for public inspection on request.
- When making formal decisions, any interest that a councillor may have must be declared. This requirement only applies if the councillor's interest is greater than the interests of taxpayers generally. An example might be a decision that would have an effect on the councillor's business or employer. All such declarations are recorded in the Council's minutes, and in a separate register of interests maintained by Democratic Services.
South Holland District Council's Code of Conduct states that Councillors must not participate in any discussion or vote on any matter in which they are aware they have a DPI.
Councillors are required to register interests which are held by South Holland District Council:
- District Councillors Interests can be found on each of the individual member web pages
- Parish Councillors Interests can be found on the parish council web pages.
Further guidance is also available from the Department for Communities and Local Government. Councillors can request a dispensation from being required to declare an interest and a document has been produced.
What happens if somebody breaks the Code?
Anyone wishing to make a complaint about the conduct of a member of South Holland District Council or a member of a Parish Council within South Holland, for failing to comply with the Code of Conduct, you should complete a
. Responsibility for considering complaints about elected members (councillors) rests with the Council.
Complaints should be addressed via email or post to:
- The Monitoring Officer
South Holland District Council
If you'd like to discuss a complaint, please contact us on 01775 764626. Complainants will be required to provide their name, a contact address and where possible, an email address so that the complaint can be acknowledged and be kept informed of progress. The Monitoring Officer does not normally investigate anonymous complaints, unless there is a clear public interest in doing so.
What happens to a standards complaint?
- initial consideration of complaint
- formal consideration of complaint
- hearing panel.
Not all complaints will progress through all four stages. Opportunities are provided throughout the arrangements to enable local resolution between the complainant and the subject member.
The complainant can at any time request to withdraw a complaint, however the Monitoring Officer or Hearing Panel may decide that it remains in the public interest to continue to pursue the complaint though the process. The Hearing Panel is made up of three Councillors drawn from the Councils Standards Panel. The Standards Panel is made up of six District Councillors and receives an annual report from the Monitoring Officer on the complaints that have been received.
Standards Hearing procedures
Please find below the Standards Hearing procedures for both District and Parish:
What complaints does the Monitoring Officer deal with?
The Monitoring Officer can only deal with complaints about a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct. If a complaint relates to something other than the Code of Conduct, the following options are available:
- complaints about the District Council can be or by writing to:
Customer Services, South Holland District Council, Priory Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE11 2XE
If you are not satisfied with the response following a complaint made to the Council, the Local Government Ombudsman may be able to help.
Complaints about a Parish Council should be made in the first instance through its own complaints procedure. A Parish Council has a duty to have a complaints policy or procedure and to make it available to the public
If your complaint about a District or Parish Council relates to the availability of information and it is not forthcoming, then you have the right to question this under the Freedom of Information Act.
If you are specifically concerned about the handling of finances at a Parish or District Council, you also have the right to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman. You can also raise your concerns with your local MP or Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
You may also wish to visit the Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA) website.