Under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011, the Council is required to appoint an Independent Person to assist the Council in promoting high standards of conduct amongst it Elected Members and Parish and Town Councillors.
The Independent Person will be consulted by the Monitoring Officer/Standards Committee on a decision to investigate an allegation of a breach of the Code of Conduct by a Councillor and prior to a decision being made on an investigated complaint. In addition, the Independent Person can be contacted by the Member of the Authority against whom an allegation has been made.
South Lakeland District Council’s Independent Person is Mr David Tweddle.
David Tweddle was a police officer for Cumbria Constabulary for 30 years, achieving the rank of Detective Inspector. As a police officer he was involved, with the Police Federation, in representing colleagues who fell foul of the police code of conduct. He then joined the Constabulary’s legal department before moving to the Professional Standards Department where he investigated complaints made by the public against the police officers and civilian staff. As a police staff member, he became a representative of UNISON and represented and supported colleagues who had allegations made against them.
Mr Tweddle then joined Eden District Council in 2007 as an Independent Member of the Standards Committee which he chaired from 2009. In this role he utilised his experience in dealing with complaints from both sides to the benefit of Councillors, the Council, and most importantly the public.
On his new role as South Lakeland District Council’s Independent Person, Mr Tweddle has said, “I am delighted to have been chosen as Independent Person for South Lakeland District Council, and believe the new legislation provides more opportunity to deal with complaints in a reasonable, proportionate manner avoiding where possible costly investigations and seeking to find some form of local resolution to issues raised.”
Mr Tweddle said he will be guided by the following:
For the public:
- believe it is essential any complaints process has a degree of independence Important that people are aware they have a right to complain and the system is easily accessible
- complaints will be taken seriously and dealt with promptly
In respect of Members complained against, complaints will be dealt with in a fair, open, prompt, and proportionate manner.