3.2.4 Breaching the code
- A breach of the Code occurs if either or both of the principles of trust and respect are breached or if a provision in a policy which explicitly provides for a breach has been breached.
- The Code provides for formal complaints which allege that a member has breached the Code. The Code states that a formal complaint should be a last resort. The Code contains the expectations and understandings of conduct which members have agreed and if a member’s conduct is not in line with these a first approach might be to simply remind the member of the expected conduct that is set out in the Code.
- A complaint may be made by an elected member, the chief executive acting on behalf of staff, or a member of the public and must be made in writing, lodged with the Chief Executive and provide evidence of the breach. It must relate to a member’s conduct when acting the capacity of a member. It should not relate to conduct at a meeting held under standing orders, since standing orders are for the conduct of meetings. Nevertheless if the conduct was not properly addressed at a meeting it may be raised in a complaint under the Code.
- If a complaint relates to a conflict of interest it is referred for legal advice, otherwise a complaint is initially assessed by an Investigator who must refer the complaint to a Conduct Commissioner if it relates to a material breach.
- If the complaint relates to a non-material breach the Investigator may make non-binding recommendations.
- If the complaint relates to a material breach, the Conduct Commissioner may arrange mediation or investigate the complaint more fully to determine whether a breach has occurred. A Conduct Commissioner has the power to impose specified sanctions and the report of the investigation will be made public.