Monday, 24 May 2010

Do You Know How to Complain About a Councillor?

Being a stroppy so-and-so, I recently decided to submit a complaint about one of our elected representatives (more about this if it goes anywhere).

Naturally I first had a look around NCC's website to find out how to go about it. To give you an idea of how well that went here are the results of a Google search for the term 'complaints against councillors Nottingham'.

As you can see, precious little information specifically about how to complain about a councillor at Nottingham.

Compare with the results of a search for 'complaints about councillors'. Evidence of quite a few councils across the UK providing details of how to make a complaint against one of their councillors.

Just to be sure, here are the results of using the search facility for 'complaints against councillors' on NCC's website. As you can see, lots of details about how to complain about anything from social workers to the cleaner and his dog but not councillors.

This is an important omission because complaints against councillors can only be made on the basis that they have breached the code of conduct and they have to be sent to the council's Standards Committee. While using NCC's generic complaints system MAY result in it getting to the right person, not knowing the basis on which a complaint must be made will only result in more complaints that aren't specifically about code of conduct issues and which cannot be upheld and that's a waste of time for everybody. That's presuming that people aren't put off by the lack of any info on the website about how you go about it.

So, for your future reference, here is the Standards for England page on how to make a complaint against a councillor, you have your link to the code of conduct above and here is the link to the various Committee Administrators' contact details page. I strongly advise that you at least copy any complaint about a councillor to the Standards Committee Administrator, he seems like a nice man and he does seem to acknowledge emails pretty quickly, which is more than can be said for the generic complaints system.

No comments: