If you think a district, town or parish councillor has broken any of the rules in their relevant Code of Conduct, you can complain to our Monitoring Officer.
All councillors must adhere to a statutory Code of Conduct. This requires councillors not to:
You can download a copy of our Code of Conduct below.
Most parish and town councils have adopted similar codes. However, they are entitled to adopt a differently worded code from that of the district council.
For a copy of a particular parish or town council's Code of Conduct, contact the relevant parish or town clerk.
To submit a complaint about a councillor, download the complaints form below.
Hard copy forms can also be obtained from any of the council's Information Offices. You do not have to use the complaints form, but your complaint should include all the information requested on the form.
Your complaint must be about:
You can complain about more than one councillor, but must provide full details of each councillor as per above.
Send your complaint form to:
The Monitoring Officer
New Forest District Council
Or by email: email@example.com
Making a complaint will often mean that your name and a copy of your complaint will be passed to the member you are complaining about. If it is eventually decided that some action should be taken on your complaint, your name may also be placed in the public domain, including the internet. However, we will not publish your address (unless it is relevant to your complaint), telephone number, email address or signature.
The complaint form tells you what to do if you have any concerns about your name or details of your complaint being released.
Complaint leaflets and forms are also available in braille, large print, tape, CD and other languages. To request these, call 023 8028 5000 and ask for the Equalities Officer, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In certain straightforward circumstances, the Monitoring Officer is entitled to dismiss your complaint at the outset. This will happen in any of these circumstances:
If your complaint is not dismissed, a copy of your complaint will be sent to the councillor you are complaining about, who will be invited to submit any written comments they wish to make.
If you do not wish the councillor to be informed, make the reasons for this clear when you submit your complaint. The Monitoring Officer and the Chief Executive will then decide if this information should be withheld from the councillor.
If they decide against this, you will be asked whether you wish to withdraw your complaint before it proceeds further.
When any written response from the councillor has been received, the Monitoring Officer and the Chief Executive will meet to decide how to proceed. This meeting is usually attended by a person independent of the council who has been appointed for this purpose.
You will be notified in writing of their decision and the reasons for it. There is no right of appeal against it to the council.
The options open to the Chief Executive and the Monitoring Officer are as follows.
At a formal hearing, you and the councillor you are complaining about can both state your case before the panel and call witnesses if necessary.
If the panel decides the councillor you are complaining about did breach the Code of Conduct, it may formally censure the councillor and/or give their findings whatever level of publicity it considers appropriate.
By law, the panel has no power to suspend or disqualify a councillor. However, it can make recommendations to the council, such as that the councillor be removed from a particular committee or position.
An independent investigation is only undertaken in exceptionally complex cases.
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 of Conduct, a formal hearing will be arranged.
No action will be taken when the Monitoring Officer and Chief Executive are of the view that any of the following applies:
Where a complaint is about the conduct of a parish or town councillor, decisions on the complaint will be sent to the clerk of the relevant parish or town council.
We have adopted other local codes that our district councillors are obliged to follow. This does not apply to parish or town councillors.
You can download these local codes below.
Complaints about breaches of these local codes can be dealt with in the same way as complaints about breaches of the statutory Code of Conduct. If you think a councillor has broken one of the local codes, follow the same procedure but make it clear that you want your complaint to be dealt with under the local code, rather than under the Code of Conduct.
It is a criminal offence for a councillor not to comply with certain statutory rules concerning the registration and disclosure of pecuniary interests. This means having the opportunity, directly or indirectly, to profit or share in any profit derived from a transaction.
Any person who considers that a councillor has broken these rules is entitled to bring the matter to the attention of the police. Prosecution can be undertaken only by the Director of Public Prosecutions.