We look carefully at every complaint to see if we can, or should, investigate.  We need to check whether the person you are complaining about is a councillor, and whether the alleged conduct is something that is covered by the Code.

We also look at the evidence to support the complaint, and whether an investigation would be proportionate and in the public interest.

We will aim to complete our assessment within 4 weeks. If we decide not to investigate we will write to you and tell you why.


If we decide to investigate you will be contacted by an Investigating Officer who will explain the process to you. They may also ask you for more information about your allegations.

They will look at all relevant council documents and policies, examine media reports and social media content, review any relevant audio recordings of council meetings or CCTV footage, and interview witnesses (including the councillor).

They may also look at relevant legislation and case law.

Instead of, or as well as, doing an investigation, cases may be dealt with by ‘Alternative Action’. This might include requiring a councillor to apologise to a complainant or to attend training. 

The investigation will decide either;

  • that there is no evidence of any failure to comply with the Code;
  • that no action needs to be taken in respect of the matters that have been investigated; or
  • that there is evidence of a failure to comply with the Code and that the Commissioner should hold an Adjudication Hearing

The investigation findings are set out in a report, which will be given to the councillor and the Chief Executive of his or her council.

Further information