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Local government chief executive officers must keep and publish a record of complaints against councillors.
Section 177 (11) of the Local Government Act 2009 (the Act) requires the chief executive officer (CEO) of a local government to keep a record of all written complaints and the outcome of each written complaint, including any disciplinary action or other action that was taken in relation to the complaint. Section 177(12) requires the CEO to ensure the public can inspect the record at the local government’s public office or on its website.
To remove confusion on this matter, the department recommends the record is published on the council website and contain the following details:
No. The Act requires the complaint be published upon receipt by the CEO. The outcome should be published when it is known.
The department recommends the CEO publish only relevant factual information. Additionally, CEO’s should be mindful that publication of inappropriate information or opinion may expose council to legal claims or complaints of bias.
To ensure transparency of process, the department recommends an acknowledgement letter be sent to the complainant acknowledging the receipt of the complaint and advice to the effect that the complaint will be handled in accordance with the Act.
To ensure transparency of process, the department recommends the councillor be informed in writing about the nature of the allegation (see above), what further action may be taken and a contact number within the CEO’s office.