The Commission oversees compliance with the Ethics Acts (collectively the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 (the 1995 Act) and the Standards in Public Office Act 2001). Under the Ethics Acts the Commission can consider complaints against certain individuals where they have done and act or omission that is inconsistent with the proper performance of the functions of their office.
Complaints to the Commission must be in writing. Before submitting a complaint to the Commission, please consult the detailed information below and:
The Commission cannot accept anonymous complaints.
The Commission is of the view that a complaint will be considered anonymous unless the complainant’s full name, home address, and email address/phone number is provided. Please be advised, in accordance with the Commission’s procedures, the subject of your complaint will be provided with your full name but will not be provided with your contact information.
The Commission can consider complaints under the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 (the 1995 Act) and the Standards in Public Office Act 2001 (the 2001 Act).
The 1995 Acts deals with requirements relating to declarations of interest for certain individuals. Accordingly, the Commission can consider complaints where a person has allegedly not declared an interest as required by the 1995 Act.
Under the 2001 Act, as per s.4(1(a), the Commission can consider complaints where a specified person (see the following section below):
Further information on the Ethics Acts can be found here.
The Commission cannot consider complaints against unnamed individuals (this includes where a person’s surname is not provided).
Under s.4 of the Standards in Public Office Act 2001, the Commission can only consider complaints against a named, specified person. Specified persons include the following:
The Commission cannot consider complaints against members of Dáil Éireann (TDs) or members of Seanad Éireann (Senators) who are not Office Holders (eg. Ministers, Ministers of State).
S.8(2) of the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 specifies that complaints regarding members of Dáil Éireann (TDs) who are not Office Holders should be directed to the Clerk of Dáil Éireann who will refer it to the Committee on Members' Interests of Dáil Éireann if appropriate. Similarly, s.8(2) specifies that complaints regarding members of Seanad Éireann (Senators) who are not Office Holders should be directed to the Clerk of Seanad Éireann who will refer it to the Committee on Members' Interests of Seanad Éireann if appropriate. The Clerk of Dáil Éireann and the Clerk of Seanad Éireann can be contacted at the following address:
Houses of the Oireachtas,
The Commission cannot to examine complaints against the actions or omissions of organisations
While the Commission can consider complaints against employees and members (councillors) of a local authority, the Commission requests local avenues should be exhausted before such a complaint is made to the Commission.
Part 15 of the Local Government Act 2001 establishes the Ethical Framework for Local Government Service (local authorities), including the Code of Conduct for Councillors and the Code of Conduct for Employees of a Local Authority. It is the Commission’s procedure for a complaint regarding an employee or member (councillor) of a local authority to be first submitted to the Ethics Registrar of the relevant local authority. The Ethics Registrar has a number of statutory duties set out in Part 15 of the Local Government Act 2001, including to bring complaints to the attention of the Chief Executive and/or the Cathaoirleach of the local authority for consideration.
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the local authority regarding your complaint, you may then submit your complaint for the Commission’s consideration. See below on how to make a complaint to the Commission.
The graphic below provides an overview of the Commission’s complaints and investigation procedure under the Ethics Acts.
You can find detailed information on the Commission’s Ethics Acts complaints and investigation procedure here.
The Ethics Acts provide that all complaints to the Commission must be in writing. Complaints to the Commission should be submitted via the complaints form (available here). When completing the complaints form please provide the following:
The complaints form should be accompanied by any background information or documentation that supports your allegations or that is necessary for the Commission to understand the circumstances of your complaint. All information that you provide will assist the Commission in examining your complaint and in determining whether or not it is appropriate to carry out an investigation.
The complaints form can be provided to the Commission by email to email@example.com. Alternatively, the form can be provided by post to the following address:
The Standards in Public Office Commission,
6 Earlsfort Terrace,
You can also request a Complaints Form by contacting the Secretariat by post, email, or by phone on 01 639 5666 and asking to speak to the Complaints and Investigation Unit.
Please be aware, that your name and page 2 of the complaints form will be provided to the subject(s) of your complaint. The subject of your complaint will not be provided your contact information.