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Agenda item

Code of Conduct Update


The Committee considered a report of the Head of Legal and Democratic Services which provided Members with an update on activity since the last meeting in respect of complaints received by Durham County Council (for copy see file of Minutes).


The Governance Solicitor reported that since the papers had been published Decision Notices had been issued in respect of complaints ref: COM 229 and COM 233 and details would be included in the report to the next meeting of the Committee.


Members were informed that with effect from April 2019 Decision Notices would be published on the Council’s website and a link to the Decisions would be included in future reports to the Committee.


Councillor E Bell raised concerns that a complaint could detrimentally affect the good reputation of a Councillor, irrespective of whether or not a breach of the Code of Conduct had been found following assessment of the complaint by the Monitoring Officer.


The Monitoring Officer understood the Member’s concerns which she knew were shared by other Councillors and appreciated the pressure Members faced as a result, particularly if they were the subject of a number of complaints but emphasised the importance of the Decision Notice which was available for public inspection, and which clearly set out reasons for the decision. The Monitoring Officer briefed Members on how frivolous or vexatious complaints were dealt with in accordance with the Local Assessment Procedure and she advised that the proposal to publish Decision Notices on the website should also help to protect a Member’s reputation. In addition more detailed information was now included in Appendix 2 of the report in those cases where the outcome following assessment of the complaint was no further action.


If a complaint was made by a Councillor against another Councillor which was unfounded the subject Member could make a counter complaint.




That the contents of the report be noted.



Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714