We categorise complaints according to the subject matter of the allegations. This enables us to monitor not only complaint numbers, but also trends in the areas of council operations that give rise to the greatest level of concern.
Complaints are about issues such as:
- land use planning – these include complaints from applicants for development consent and from objectors, and complaints about rezoning issues
- misconduct by councils – includes allegations of breaches of the council’s code of conduct
- council governance issues – including issues about public land management and the conduct of council meetings
- enforcement and regulatory powers – these are complaints that a council is not enforcing development consent conditions, or not acting on evidence of development carried out without consent
- mismanagement and maladministration – including complaints about council’s performance including employment practices and calls for dismissal
- financial management – including rating, charges, budget issues and decisions on allocation of council funding
- complaints about operational services – including engineering services, environmental services and community services
Decline – a matter is assessed as a “decline” when the matter is one that does not warrant action by the Office in accordance with its Procedures for Managing Complaints about Local Councils.
Preliminary Enquiry/Review – a matter is assessed as a “preliminary enquiry/review” when action is required to gain additional information to deal with the complaint, e.g. contacting Council either by telephone or in writing, OR the officer reviews the document prior to determining whether further action will be required to deal with the matter.
Pecuniary interest referral/investigation
A pecuniary interest is an interest that a person has in a matter because of a reasonable likelihood or expectation of appreciable financial gain or loss to the person.
Allegation – allegations that a person has or may have contravened the pecuniary interest provisions of a council’s code of conduct, that have been referred to the Office for assessment and any necessary action.
Complaint – allegations that a Council staff member or adviser has or may have contravened Part 2 of Chapter 14 of the Local Government Act 1993, relating to pecuniary interest matters, that have been referred to the Office for assessment and any necessary action.
Investigation – under section 440H of the Act the Chief Executive may decide to investigate a pecuniary interest matter.
Referral – this refers to complaints that a councillor has breached the misconduct provisions of the Act.
Investigation – under section 440H of the Act the Chief Executive may decide to investigate a misconduct referral/matter.
Political donations – this refers to alleged breaches of the political donations provisions of a council’s code of conduct.
Public interest disclosure
This relates to complaints made under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994. To be protected under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994, a disclosure to the Deputy Secretary, Local Government, Planning and Policy has to be made by a public official (includes councillors, staff and delegates of local and county councils) and must show or tend to show corrupt conduct, maladministration, serious and substantial waste of local government money, government information contravention or local government pecuniary interest contravention by a council, county council, delegate, councillor or member of staff of a council.
Section 53 referral
These are matters that are referred to the Office by the Independent Commission Against Corruption under section 53 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 for investigation.
Special investigations/section 430 investigation
This refers to an investigation commenced under section 430 of the Act. The Deputy Secretary, Local Government, Planning and Policy has the power to carry out investigations into council operations. Investigations can be general or in respect of a particular matter.