Making a Complaint

Under the local Government Act 2000 the Standards Committee at New Forest District Council is empowered to promote and maintain high standards of conduct by the Members of Parish and Town Councils. Therefore if the complaint is about a Councillor, contact should be made with the Monitoring Officer at New Forest District Council who will advise on the process to be followed.

 Any complaint about an employee will be dealt with internally as an employment matter.

 The following procedure is designed to deal with complaints about the administration and procedures of the Council, which cannot be satisfied by less formal methods or by explanations provided to the complainant by the Clerk or Chairman of the Council.

 In order to deal with complaints as soon as possible the Council has agreed that the complaint will be heard by a meeting of a sub-committee of the Council comprising of any three members.

Procedure

Before the Meeting

 1.    The complainant should be asked to put the complaint about the council's procedures or administration in writing to the Clerk or other nominated proper officer.

2.      If the complainant does not wish to put the complaint to the Clerk or other proper officer, they may be advised to put it to the Chairman of the Council.

 3.      The Clerk shall acknowledge the receipt of the complaint and advise the complainant when the matter will be considered by the Council or by the committee established for the purposes of hearing complaints.

 4.      The complainant shall be invited to attend the relevant meeting and bring with them such representative as they wish.

 5.      7 clear working days prior to the meeting, the complainant shall provide the Council with copies of any documentation or other evidence, which they wish to refer to at the meeting.  The Council shall similarly provide the complainant with copies of any documentation upon which they wish to rely at the meeting.

At the Meeting

6.      The Council shall consider whether the circumstances of the meeting warrant the exclusion of the public and the press.  Any decision on a complaint shall be announced at the Council meeting in public.

 7.      Chairman to introduce everyone.

 8.      Chairman to explain procedure.

 9.      Complainant (or representative) to outline grounds for complaint.

 10.     Members to ask any question of the complainant.

 11.     If relevant, Clerk or other proper officer to explain the Council's position.

 12.     Members to ask any question of the Clerk or other proper officer.

 13.     Clerk or other proper officer and complainant to be offered opportunity of last word (in this order).

 14.     Clerk or other proper officer and complainant to be asked to leave room while Members decide whether or not the grounds for the complaint have been made. (If a point of clarification is necessary, both parties to be invited back).

 15.     Clerk or other proper officer and complainant return to hear decision, or to be advised when decision will be made.

 After the Meeting

 16.     Decision confirmed in writing within seven working days together with details of any action to be taken.