Guidance on complaints about members

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  1. Introduction

    This guidance provides information about the system for making complaints about Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority Members. It is particularly intended for those people, who wish to make a complaint about a Member and require further information as to how to do so. This guidance relates specifically to the system followed by Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority Standards Committee.

  2. How to make a complaint

    If you wish to make a complaint about the behaviour or actions undertaken by a Member, you can make a formal complaint to Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority's Standards Committee. The Standards Committee has been designated in legislation to consider the complaints, which relate to Members.

    After being elected, all Members sign a declaration, undertaking to abide by the terms of the Members' Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct adopted by Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority is attached to this guidance at Appendix 1. If you wish to complain about a Member, you may wish to review the terms of the Code of Conduct to see which particular element of the Code you believe has been breached.

  3. Preparing and submitting your complaint

    Your complaint should be set out in writing and you should sign and date it. To assist you an online complaint form has been prepared for you to use, if you wish. A copy of the complaint form is also available at the bottom of this page for you to download and print out. You do not have to use the complaint form but it may assist the Standards Committee, when considering your complaint, if you have provided all of the details requested in the form. When submitting your complaint, it is recommended that you include as much information as possible and attach any evidence, upon which you want to rely. This could include letters, emails, statements, copies of Fire Authority meeting minutes etc.

    You will need to send your complaint to:

    The Chair of the Standards Committee,
    c/o Corporate Services Manager
    Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority
    St Michael's Street
    SY1 2HJ

  4. What happens when my complaint has been received?

    The Corporate Services Manager for Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority will receive your complaint on behalf of the Chair of the Standards Committee. Arrangements will be made for a group of Members from the Standards Committee (known as the Referrals Sub-Committee) to meet and make an initial assessment of your complaint. This should happen within twenty working days of receiving your complaint.

    You will normally be contacted, confirming that the Referral Sub-Committee meeting will go ahead and the date by which it is expected your complaint will have been assessed. The Standards Committee has prepared a protocol for dealing with the receipt of complaints, which is attached to this guidance at Appendix 4. The protocol includes information as to work, which may be undertaken by the Corporate Services Manager, before the complaint is assessed. This could include contacting you for further information.

    It is also expected that the Member, who is the subject of the complaint will be notified that you have made the complaint and some brief details provided to them. In cases where you do not want your name to be supplied to the Member, who you have complained about, you can put this in the complaint form attached at Appendix 3. However, it will ultimately be a decision for the Referral Sub-Committee to decide whether or not this information is released to the Member concerned.

  5. How will my complaint be assessed?

    When the Referrals Sub-Committee meets they will not be deciding whether or not your complaint amounts to a breach of the Members Code. Instead they will be making an initial decision as to what further work will be needed to decide whether or not your complaint will be upheld. This meeting will be in private and both the person complaining and the Member, who is subject to the complaint, will not be able to attend.

    The Referrals Sub-Committee has a criterion to use as a guide as to what decision it should make. A copy of this criterion is attached at Appendix 5. If the Sub-Committee decides that the complaint relates to an aspect of the Code of Conduct and that it is sufficiently serious to be investigated, it can ask that an investigation is undertaken locally under the direction of the Monitoring Officer. Alternatively, it could refer the matter to Standards for England in order for them to undertake an investigation. This will depend upon how serious it considers the potential breach to be.

    However, if the Sub-Committee decides that the matter should not be investigated, it can either decide that no further action should be taken or some other action, such as asking the Member concerned to attend training or that mediation takes place between the person, who has made the complaint, and the Member, who has been complained about. You will be informed about the Referral Sub-Committee's decision normally within five working days of the meeting taking place.

  6. What happens if I disagree with the decision that the Referral Sub-Committee have made?

    If the Sub-Committee has decided that your complaint does not require any further action, then you can ask for that decision to be reviewed by writing to the Corporate Services Manager within thirty days of the Referral Sub-Committee taking place. When you write in you will be asked to set out why you want a review and also whether or not there is any information, which you think has not been considered.

    A Review Sub-Committee of the Standards Committee will then be set up and this will be made up of a different group of Members from the Standards Committee that considered the complaint initially. The Review Sub-Committee will meet within three months of the review being requested and have the same powers available to them as the Referrals Sub-Committee. If the Review Sub-Committee decides that no further action is to be taken, then you have no further right of review by the Standards Committee.

  7. What happens if the matter is investigated?

    An investigation may be undertaken locally, either by an officer of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority or by an external investigator employed by the Authority. If your complaint is more serious, then it will be investigated by an Ethical Standards Officer, who is instructed by Standards for England. You should expect to be contacted as part of that investigation and asked to answer questions in order to obtain further information.

    Normally, within three months of the complaint being referred for investigation a report will be prepared and submitted back to the Standards Committee. If the investigation indicates that there has been a breach of the Code of Conduct, then the matter will proceed to a Standards Committee hearing. As part of that hearing process, you may be asked to attend and give evidence.

    If the matter is more serious, then the complaint will be dealt with by the Adjudication Panel for England, which is independent of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority, and, similarly, you may be asked to give evidence there. The Adjudication Panel for England can also be used by any Member, who wishes to appeal against a decision of the Standards Committee after an investigation and hearing, which has found them to be in breach of the Code of Conduct.

  8. Further Information

    Further information can also be obtained by visiting the Standards for England website at:

    or the website for the Adjudication Panel for England at:

application/pdf iconComplaint form(44.19 KB)

Further information:

sharon [dot] lloyd [at] shropshirefire [dot] gov [dot] uk (Sharon Lloyd) - Corporate Services Manager

Telephone: 01743 260 210