Total of 33 complaints made against Sheffield councillors

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Community groups, unions and residents have made 33 official complaints against councillors in Sheffield in two years.

But only three of the potential breaches of conduct – fewer than 10 per cent – were referred on for investigation.

The three complaints are still to be dealt with, according to a Sheffield Council report.

Complaints waiting to be resolved date back to January 2014.

In the last 12 months, 11 complaints were made.

Of those, most were found not to be breaches of conduct or to do with standards by the council’s monitoring officer.

Neither were they referred for investigation.

On two occasions, the complainant did not follow up the matter in writing or provide further information as required.

Details of the complaints are not included in the report.

A separate report to the council’s standards committee today also recommends a revised procedure for dealing with complaints following a review of complaints dealt with in the past year.

The council has also compared its procedures with other local authorities.

Council leader Julie Dore said the Government had abolished standards boards so there was no requirement to have one – but the council felt it was important.

She added: “It is something we were determined to keep to make sure there is some overview of councillors’ behaviour.

“We get complaints ranging from minor, such as a councillor not turning up for a surgery, to more serious complaints.”

Reports say since new standards arrangements were introduced in July 2012, there have been 33 complaints made against councillors in total.

The majority of complaints – 22 of them – were made in 2013.

One hearing was arranged in 2013 but the complaint was then withdrawn and the hearing cancelled.

Reports say three complaints which were referred for investigation are ‘due to be completed shortly’.

Changes to be made to the complaints procedure include having one process for complaints relating to all types of council, from parish to city councils.

The council will also introduce timescales for each stage and will set up a committee to consider investigations when required.

There will be no right of appeal to the decision made by a hearing sub committee, which will be made up of three councillors and one independent member.

A council spokesman said: “We take matters of conduct seriously and for this reason are currently reviewing our processes to ensure we are as accountable and transparent as we can be in our dealings with complaints against elected members.”