The Monitoring Officer

Who is the Council’s Monitoring Officer?

Helen Gorman - For contact details please see contact tab.

The Role of the Monitoring Officer

The Monitoring Officer needs to be aware of the potential conflicts involved in advising the Standards Committee and Members.

Advising the Standards Committee

The Monitoring Officer normally is the adviser to the Standards Committee, unless she/he has an interest in the matter that prevents her/him from performing this role independently. If this situation arises the Monitoring Officer would arrange for another appropriately qualified Officer to advise the Standards Committee.

In advising the Standards Committee, the Monitoring Officer or her/his deputy or other legal adviser should:

  • Make sure that Members of the Standards Committee understand their powers and procedures
  • Make sure that the determination procedure is fair and will allow the allegations to be dealt with as efficiently and effectively as possible
  • Make sure that the Member about who the allegation is made understands the procedures the Standards Committee will follow
  • Provide advice to the Standards Committee during the hearing and their determination
  • Help the Standards Committee produce a written decision and a summary decision

Advising Members

Monitoring Officers play an important role in advising their Members on a day to day basis. In performing this role, Monitoring Officers need to be aware of the potential conflict that can arise, as these conflicts could prevent them from advising the Standards Committee at a later stage.

However, conflicts of interest are not likely to arise simply from informal discussions with Members and the Monitoring Officer.

Independent Person

The Monitoring Officer has a duty to appoint an Independent Person to give advice on matters connected to the Code of Conduct.

Are you using the correct form?

The points listed below will help you decide whether this is the correct form (see Downloads Tab above) to use when making your complaint. You should speak to Helen Gorman, Monitoring Officer on 01204 331101 if you are not clear if the standards committee can consider your complaint.

  • Your complaint must be about conduct that occurred while the member(s) complained about were in office
  • Your complaint must be about one or more named members of the following authorities Bolton Council, Blackrod, Horwich or Westhoughton Town Councils
  • Your complaint must be that the member(s) has, or may have, breached the Code of Conduct. You may also contact Helen Gorman, Monitoring Officer on 01204 331101 if you require further information
  • Complaints about dissatisfaction with a decision or action of the authority or one of its committees, a service provided by the authority or the authority’s procedures do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Standards Committee. Complaints about the actions of people employed by the authority also do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Standards Committee
  • Your complaint must be in writing. If a disability prevents you from making your complaint in writing you may contact Helen Gorman, Monitoring Officer on 01204 331101 for assistance

It is important to note that not every complaint that falls within the jurisdiction of the Standards Committee will be referred for investigation or other action. The Monitoring Officer must decide whether investigation is appropriate. If the Monitoring Officer decides not to refer your complaint for investigation or other action s/he will give you the reasons for this decision and will also explain any right that you may have to ask for the decision to be reviewed.

What happens once I submit my complaint?

The Monitoring Officer will consider your complaint and decide whether it should be referred for investigation or other action. This will happen within an average of 20 working days of the date we receive your complaint.

The Monitoring Officer will notify you in writing whether your complaint has been referred for investigation or other action and at the same time will write to the member(s) you have complained about and the parish or town clerk (if applicable).  Letters will normally be sent within five working days of the Monitoring Officer reaching his/her decision.

What is meant by 'other action'?

The Monitoring Officer may decide to refer your complaint for ‘other action’ instead of referring it for investigation. Other action is a deliberately broad term that may include options such as requiring the person you have complained about to apologise or undergo training or mediation. The Monitoring Officer will carefully consider the circumstances surrounding your complaint when deciding whether other action is appropriate. If the Monitoring Officer decides to refer your complaint for other action s/he will explain what this involves.

How should I set out my complaint

It is very important that you set your complaint out fully and clearly, and provide all the information at the outset. You should also provide any documents or other material that you wish the Monitoring Officer to consider, where possible.

We recommend that you use our complaint form or provide a covering note summarising what you are complaining about, especially if your complaint includes a lot of supporting documentation. In the summary you should tell us exactly what each person you are complaining about said or did that has caused you to complain. If you are sending supporting documentation please cross-reference it against the summary of your complaint.

You should be as detailed as possible and substantiate your complaint where you can. Although you are not required to prove your complaint at this stage of proceedings, you do have to demonstrate that you have reasonable grounds for believing that the member(s) complained about has breached the Code of Conduct.


Helen Gorman

Borough Solicitor

Second Floor

Town Hall



Telephone 01204 331101
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