Code of Conduct
Every Council is required to adopt a Code of Conduct that sets out the rules governing the behaviour of its Councillors. All elected or co-opted members of the Council are covered by the code. The Council’s Code of Conduct is available in Part F – Codes, Schemes and Protocols of the Council’s Constitution.
Everyone expects good standards of behaviour from those they elect to represent them. To support that, Tandridge District Council and all parishes have adopted a code of conduct to govern the way we expect councillors to behave.
Tandridge District Council is responsible for upholding high standards of governance within its area and considering complaints against individual District and Parish Councillors who have breached the Council's Code of Conduct.
Most complaints are considered and dealt with by the Council's Monitoring Officer. However, more serious matters may be referred to the Standards Committee. The Standards Committee is appointed to:
- Promote and maintain high standards of conduct by Councillors and co-opted members.
- Assist councillors and co-opted members to observe the Councillors' Code of Conduct.
- Advise the Council on the adoption and revision of the Councillors' Code of Conduct.
- Monitor the operation of the Councillors' Code of Conduct.
- Advise, train or arrange to train Councillors and co-opted Members on matters relating to the Councillors' Code of Conduct.
Please be aware Tandridge District Council cannot deal with complaints about the actions or decisions of a parish council as a whole, or a parish clerk. All such complaints need to be referred to the relevant parish council.
Further, Tandridge District Council can only consider complaints when Councillors are deemed to be 'acting in capacity' as a Councillor - we cannot deal with more general complaints about the private lives of Councillors.
Making a complaint about a Councillor
You can make a complaint about a Councillor if you believe they have broken any part of the Code of Conduct, this could be:
- failing to treat people with respect
- causing the local authority to breach equality laws
- revealing information that was given to them in confidence
- stopping someone getting information they are entitled to by law
- damaging the reputation of the authority
- using their position improperly, to their own or someone else's advantage or disadvantage
- misusing the authority's resources
- allowing the authority's resources to be misused for the activities of a registered political party
- failing to reveal an interest at a meeting
- compromising the impartiality of Officers
- taking part in a meeting or making a decision where the Member has an interest
All complaints will need to be in writing. However, if you request that your details remain confidential, this will be considered. We do not accept anonymous complaints. All complaints should be addressed to the Monitoring Officer. We have prepared and online complaints form that you can complete if you want to make a complaint.
You must state within your complaint which part of the Code of Conduct you believe they have breached.
What will happen to my complaint?
Your complaint will be considered by the Monitoring Officer in line with the Council's procedures. The Monitoring Officer may supply you with a copy when responding to your complaint, or you can access them by clicking the set arrangements
What can be done about complaint?
In most cases, complaints can be readily resolved by discussion between those affected, or sometimes by way of apology. In more complex cases, we may consider options such as mediation to resolve disputes between people.
We can also suggest training, where there is a clear gap in knowledge/groups, or suggest changes to appointments, issue a written notice, or a public notice regarding any incidents. However, we cannot suspend or remove Councillors - Councillors are elected by their electors and are, in effect, accountable to the ballot box.
Declaration of interests
By law councillors must disclose certain pecuniary interests, for example, relating to employment, ownership of land and shares (over certain values) in companies with a place of business in the area.
Under the Code of Conduct Councillors must also declare interests arising from membership of certain bodies. These are recorded in our Register of Members’ Interests, listed under each district councillor’s information.
Councillors must declare interests at meetings when a related matter is discussed. These will be recorded in the minutes. If a Councillor declares a pecuniary interest in a topic, they cannot take part in the debate or vote and must leave the meeting for that item.
Councillors have to keep their declaration up to date by informing Democratic Services of any changes within 28 days.