Procedure for investigating the complaint

1. Preliminaries

The Investigating Officer will be appointed by the Monitoring Officer and will be aware of their obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998, Equalities Act 2010, the Human Rights Act 1998 and other relevant legislation.

The Investigating Officer is responsible for gathering all the facts, documents and, where applicable, for interviewing witnesses with knowledge of the facts, and they should remain objective, impartial and unbiased at all times.

The Subject Member and the Complainant will be advised that the investigation is for fact finding purposes only.

Witnesses will be identified at the investigation stage and their evidence supported by signed and dated witness statements and/or notes of interview with the Investigating Officer. The Investigating Officer cannot compel the attendance of witnesses or their co-operation.

The Investigating Officer will not make recommendations on sanctions.

Within 10 working days of being appointed, the Investigating Officer will notify the Subject Member and the Complainant of their appointment and:

  • Provide details of the complaint to the Subject Member;
  • Detail the procedure to be followed in respect of the investigation and the relevant timescales for responses and concluding the investigation;
  • Detail the sections of the Code of Conduct that appear to be relevant to the complaint;
  • Request contact details of any potential witnesses;
  • Require that confidentiality is maintained and that details of the complaint not be disclosed to any third party, unless disclosure is to a representative, witness, immediate family members or otherwise as may be required by law or regulation. However, the fact that an investigation is being conducted does not need to remain confidential.

It may be necessary for the Investigating Officer to agree with the Subject Member which documents will be submitted in evidence. This will generally include documents that will be relied on, or in support of, the Subject Member's case and which are relevant to the complaint.

The Investigating Officer may terminate their investigation at any point, where they are satisfied that they have sufficient information to enable them to report to the [Monitoring Officer] [Hearing Panel].

2. The draft report

On the conclusion of their investigation the Investigating Officer will issue a draft report (clearly labelled 'DRAFT') to the Monitoring Officer for review.

Following review by the Monitoring Officer, the draft report will be sent in confidence to the Subject Member and the Complainant (not witnesses) for comment. The draft report will be clearly labelled 'CONFIDENTIAL' and will detail:

  • The relevant provisions of the law and the relevant paragraphs of the Code of Conduct;
  • A summary of the complaint;
  • The Subject Member's response to the complaint;
  • Relevant information, explanations, etc, which the Investigation Officer has obtained in the course of the investigation;
  • A list of any documents relevant to the matter;
  • A list of those persons/organisations who have been interviewed;
  • A statement of the Investigating Officer's draft findings of fact and reasons;
  • The Investigating Officer's conclusion whether the Subject Member has or has not failed to comply with the Authority's Code of Conduct;
  • That the Investigating Officer will present a final report once they have considered any comments received on the draft. 2.3. Once the Investigating Officer has received any responses from the Subject Member and/or the Complainant, they will finalise the draft report and make their final conclusions and recommendations to the Monitoring Officer. The report will be clearly labelled 'FINAL'.

3. Consideration of investigating officer's final report

The Monitoring Officer will review the Investigating Officer's final report and any comments submitted by the Parties, in consultation with the Independent Person.

Where, on the basis of the Investigating Officer's report, the Monitoring Officer, having consulted with the Independent Person, concludes that there is no evidence of a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct; they will inform the Parties in writing that no further action is considered necessary. There is no right of appeal against the Monitoring Officer's decision.

Where, on the basis of the Investigating Officer's report, the Monitoring Officer, having consulted with the Independent Person, concludes that there is evidence of a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct, they will either:

Take no action; or

Seek informal resolution; or

Refer the matter for consideration by the Hearing Panel in accordance with the relevant procedure detailed in this annex.