Responsibilities of the Standards Committee

The Standards Committee has a variety of responsibilities. On this page you can find out what these responsibilities are and what the committee does. Please note that the Standards Committee cannot overturn planning decisions.

Promoting and maintaining ethical standards in public life

Standards of behaviour matter. They are particularly important where public money is being spent on public services or public functions.

Everyone has a right to expect that holders of public office who make decisions must do so with impartiality. They must be truthful about what they are doing and use public money wisely.

Code of Conduct complaints

Our Code of Conduct sets out the standards of behaviour we expect from all councillors in Cornwall.  Members of the public can make complaints about any councillor they consider has breached this code. Before making a complaint it is important to read the guidance.  This is so that you understand exactly what the Standards Committee can deal with. Some issues may be better dealt with through other complaints procedures.

Code of Conduct training for town and parish councillors and clerks

The Legal team provides training so that councillors are aware of their responsibilities.  We are looking to set up area-based training sessions across Cornwall. On-line training may also be available.

Local Government Ombudsman complaints

The Local Government Ombudsman deals with complaints about councils that have not been satisfactorily resolved locally. There are rules about this.  You cannot go straight to the Ombudsman without first going through the Council’s own complaints procedure.

You cannot complain about something that affects lots of other people in the same way. You need to submit a complaint to the Ombudsman within a certain timeframe.

The Standards Committee looks at complaints about Cornwall Council that have been to the Ombudsman. The Committee produces reports on the findings.  This is to make sure the Council learns from its mistakes.

Register of vexatious complainants

Not all complaints will be resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant.

In a minority of cases a member of the public will continue to contact the Council about a completed investigation. The Council has a procedure to deal with such cases.  This is so that there is a single point of contact for dealing with the complainant.

The Standards committee considers the situation and if they agree the Council writes to the complainant. They explain that the Council will enter their details on a register of vexatious complainants.

This is so that the Council can ensure that there is a consistent approach to the complainant.  If they then raise new issues, they are dealt with. It also ensures that time is not wasted in looking at an issue that has already been thoroughly investigated.

Improving practice in local government

The Standards Committee has an overview of all complaints. It can produce reports to the Council to learn from past mistakes.

Complaints against Council officers or services

The Standards Committee only deals with complaints on councillors breaching the Code of Conduct.

To make a complaint about a council service or a council officer, you can use the normal complaints procedure.

Your feedback is important to us

Help us improve our service