The Parish Council adopted the ICO's 'Model Publication Scheme' 5th November 2019
We are working to attach here all the documents needed to comply with this policy.
If something you require is not here please contact the Parish Clerk
Tel: 07599 249962
Councillors Code of Conduct
Freedom of Information
Model Publication Scheme (ICO Model not Parish)
Complaints Procedure Approved at Council:
Date 1st October 2019
Review Date May 2020
Stapleford Abbotts Parish Council takes a proactive approach to dealing with complaints about the Council’s administration or its procedures, a complaint against the Clerk or a complaint against a Parish Councillor. Complaints about a policy decision made by the Council will be referred back to the Council for consideration.
The Council adopts this procedure which is based on the framework suggested by the National Association of Local Councils.
2. Definition of a Complaint
A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about the Council’s action or lack of action or about the standard of a service - whether the action was taken (or the service provided by the Council) by the Parish Council or a person or organisation acting on behalf of the Council.
Complaints should always be directed through the Clerk. If a complaint relates to or is about the Clerk, the complaint should be directed to the Chair of the Council.
The Council would encourage anyone who is dissatisfied to contact the Council to discuss the issue. It may be that the matter you are concerned about could be dealt with in a less formal manner. If, however, you wish to make a formal complaint please use the following procedure.
3. Process for Making a Complaint
The Parish Council gives assurance to Parishioners that any concerns communicated to the Council will be listened to and the Council will investigate any concerns raised.
It is not necessary to deal with all complaints from members of the public under the formal complaints procedure. The Parish Council receives queries, problems and comments as part of its day-to-day business. Less formal measures or explanations provided to the complainant by the Clerk will resolve most issues.
Any informal complaint will be reported to the Parish Council by the Clerk.
If you wish to raise a formal complaint you will be asked to put the complaint in writing by letter or e-mail addressed to the Clerk. If the complaints relates directly to the conduct or action of the Clerk please address your complaint to the Chair.
When your complaint has been received, the Council will write to you within seven working days to let you know
• Who is responsible for dealing with your complaint
• How it will be dealt with, and
• When the complaint is likely to be dealt with.
4. Next steps
a. The Clerk will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within seven working days and will also advise when the matter will be dealt with by the Council.
b. You will be invited to attend a special Council meeting
c. On receipt of your written complaint, the Clerk to the Council will carry out a preliminary investigation to seek to settle the complaint directly with you by explaining the Parish Council’s position, if this is appropriate. Attempts will be made to resolve the complaint at this stage.
d. Generally speaking, complainants can expect to receive a response in full within a month of the acknowledgement of the complaint.
e. If this informal response is not appropriate you will be invited to a meeting with the Council members to discuss your concerns. Seven working days prior to the meeting, you are requested to provide the Parish Council with copies of any documentation or other evidence which you wish to refer to at the meeting. Similarly, the Parish Council will provide you with copies of any documentation which it wishes to rely on at the meeting. You can bring a representative if you wish.
f. The following process will apply at the Meeting
i. The Council will consider whether the circumstances of the meeting warrant the exclusion of the press and public.
ii. The Chairman will introduce everyone and will explain the procedure.
iii. You, as the complainant, or your representative, will outline the grounds for complaint. (standing orders states you have 3 minutes to speak. Standing orders may be suspended by the Chairman)
iv. Members of the Council will ask questions of you or your representative.
v. If relevant, the Clerk will explain the Parish Council’s position.
vi. Members of the Council will be able to ask questions of the Clerk to the Council.
vii. The Chairman will summarise the Parish Council’s position and then you will be offered the opportunity of summing up.
viii. You will be asked to withdraw from the meeting (together with your representative or anyone accompanying you) whilst Members reach a decision on whether or not the grounds for the complaint have been made. It may be appropriate in some circumstances for the Clerk also to withdraw from the meeting whilst Members reach a decision.
ix. If any points of clarification are required, you will be invited to re-join the meeting whilst clarification is sought and then asked to withdraw again.
x. You will then re-join the meeting to be advised of the decision of the Committee, together with reasons for the decision, or, if necessary, to be advised when a decision will be made. Dependent on the detail of the reasons for the decision, it might only be possible to give you the decision at the meeting, with the detailed reasons following in the decision letter.
xi. The decision will be confirmed in writing within seven working days, together with details of any action to be taken.
g. All complaints will be reported to the full Council
5. Complaints relating to the Clerk
On receipt of a complaint about the Clerk the Chair will carry out a preliminary investigation to seek to settle the complaint directly with you by explaining the Parish Council’s position, if this is appropriate. Attempts will be made to resolve the complaint at this stage. The Clerk will be advised formally of the matter and given an opportunity to comment.
These complaints will be dealt with by the Parish Council as an employment matter. Such complaints could result in disciplinary action or, in cases of gross misconduct, dismissal from the Council’s employment. The matter will be dealt with internally to protect the employment rights to which employees of the Parish Council are entitled. The complainant will be informed of action taken.
6. Complaints relating to individual Parish Councillors
Members of Parish Councils sign a declaration to abide by a Code of Conduct and if they breach that code, there are consequences. A complaint alleging a breach of the Code of Conduct should be made in writing and addressed to
Nathalie Boateng, Monitoring Officer
Epping Forest District Council
For further clarity. Standing Orders states:
Upon notification by the District or Unitary Council that it is dealing with a complaint that a councillor or non-councillor with voting rights has breached the Council’s code of conduct, the Proper Officer shall, subject to standing order 11 (confidentiality under Data Protection), report this to the Council.
Where the notification in standing order 14(a) (breach of Code of Conduct) relates to a complaint made by the Proper Officer, the Proper Officer shall notify the Chairman of Council of this fact, and the Chairman shall nominate another staff member to assume the duties of the Proper Officer in relation to the complaint until it has been determined and the Council has agreed what action, if any, to take in accordance with standing order 14(d) :
Upon notification by the District or Unitary Council that a councillor or non-councillor with voting rights has breached the Council’s code of conduct, the Council shall consider what, if any, action to take against him. Such action excludes disqualification or suspension from office.
7. Unreasonable and Vexatious Complaints
There may be circumstances when a complainant persists in wishing to pursue a complaint when, following investigation and discussion, it has no reasonable basis, or when the Council has already taken reasonable action in response, or where some other process, whether through the courts or some other recognised procedure, should, or has been taken.
These matters will be referred to the Parish Council by the Clerk with a summary of the issues and of the attempts made to resolve the complaint. The Parish Council may, in such circumstances, decide that no further action can usefully be taken in response to the complainant and inform the complainant so, making it clear that only new and substantive issues will merit a response.
8. Anonymous Complaints
Anonymous complaints will be disregarded.
9. Formal Complaints
In certain circumstances, procedures/bodies other than the Parish Council may be appropriate in respect of the following types of complaint:
• Financial irregularity - statutory right to object to Council’s audit of accounts under S.16 Audit Commission Act 1998.
• On other matters, the council may need to consult its auditor.
• Criminal activity - the Police
Community Land Management Policy
Co-option Policy Appendices - Application Forms (Word doc)