We investigate written complaints that a councillor has failed to comply with the Northern Ireland Local Government Code of Conduct for Councillors (the Code). Anyone can make a complaint, but we are not required to investigate every complaint that we receive.
Complaints are investigated by the Deputy Commissioner and a small team of experienced investigators. The Commissioner alone decides, usually following a public hearing, whether there has been a failure to comply with the Code and what sanction, if any, she should impose. The Commissioner can impose one of the following sanctions:
- that the councillor should be censured, which means that he or she will be formally reprimanded
- that the councillor should be suspended, or partially suspended, from being a councillor for a period of up to one year, or
- that the councillor should be disqualified from being or becoming a councillor for a period up to a maximum of five years.