Standards for England

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Making a complaint about your councillor

From May 2008, if you want to make a complaint about the conduct of a councillor, you must write to the standards committee of the council concerned. If your complaint is about a parish or town councillor, you should send it to your district or unitary authority – in other words, the council that collects your council tax. 

You can also make a complaint about a member of other bodies like police authorities, fire authorities, national park authorities and passenger transport authorities, which have standards committees as well. The standards committee publishes information on how to make a complaint. If you can’t find the right address for it you should send your complaint to the main office of the council or authority. You can find the  authority’s address on its website or in the phone book.

What is a standards committee?

A standards committee is a group of people appointed by an authority to help maintain and promote high ethical standards. Standards committees are made up of councillors, or members of the authority, and independent people (who are not councillors or employees of the council or authority). If you live in an area that has town or parish councils, members of those councils will also be part of the standards committee of the district or unitary authority.

What complaints does a standards committee deal with?

The standards committee can only deal with complaints about the behaviour of a member of its council or authority. It will not deal with complaints about things that are not covered by the members’ Code of Conduct. If you make a complaint to the standards committee it must be in writing. You should say who it is about and why you think they have not followed the Code of Conduct.

Standards committees will not look at complaints that are about:

  • People employed by the council or authority.
  • Incidents that happened before a member was elected or chosen to serve.
  • Incidents that happened either before the authority adopted the Code of Conduct or before 5 May 2002, whichever is earlier.
  • The way an authority conducts or records its meetings.
  • The way an authority has or has not done something. This may be a matter for the Local Government Ombudsman if the authority has not dealt with the matter properly and it has not been resolved locally.
  • Decisions of the authority or one of the services it provides. In this case, you should ask how to complain using the authority’s own complaints system.

Further information

What happens to your complaint? 


Making a complaint (57 kb)




Last Modified: 17 05 2010
© Standards for England 2010