If we receive a complaint about your conduct we will firstly decide whether it is one that can, and should, be investigated. You will be informed about the complaint and provided with the name of the complainant before this assessment.

The complaint will be assessed against a number of criteria, including:

  • whether the conduct complained of is within the scope of the Code;
  • when the conduct occurred, and;
  • whether it is proportionate or in the public interest to conduct an investigation.

We also look at whether any evidence has been provided by the complainant to support the allegation.  By asking for supporting evidence we aim to keep vexatious, malicious or frivolous complaints to a minimum.

If we think it appropriate we may try and resolve the complaint through our Alternative Actions policy.


If we decide to investigate a complaint it does not mean that we have already decided that you have breached the Code.

The purpose of an investigation is to see if there is evidence of a breach, and if there is whether the matter should be referred to the Commissioner. 

During an investigation you will be given an opportunity to comment on the allegation made against you.  We may also speak to other witnesses and gather evidence from elsewhere.

You can assist in concluding the investigation as quickly as possible by co-operating with any requests we make to provide information and to attend for interview. 

If we do not believe there is evidence of a breach we will write to you and explain our findings.  If we think there is evidence of a breach the case may be passed to the Commissioner for a decision.


Adjudication Hearings are usually held in public.

You can give evidence to the Hearing, or have a legal representative give evidence on your behalf.

After examining the evidence the Commissioner will decide whether or not you have failed to comply with the Code, and if so what sanction, if any, should be imposed. The Commissioner can impose one of the following sanctions:

  • that you should be censured;
  • that you should be suspended, or partially suspended, from being a councillor for a period, up to a maximum of one year; or
  • that you should be disqualified from being or becoming a councillor for a period, up to a maximum of five years.

If the Commissioner chooses one of these sanctions you can appeal the decision to the High Court.