SOCIAL media has been blamed for a 25 per cent rise in the number of complaints being made about councillors in County Durham.

Between April 2016 and March 2017, a total of 70 complaints were made to Durham County Council because of concerns that county, town and parish councillors were not complying with the code of conduct.

It was up from 56 in the previous 12 months, an increase of 25 per cent.

The Standards Committee, which monitors and looks at complaints, says the rise is down to things posted on social media.

The annual report of committee, says: “The Code of Conduct is intended to govern serious issues of misconduct and more recently there has been an increase in complaints received about the use of social media and postings on personal Facebook pages.”

In 66 of the cases no further action was taken, while the remaining four were resolved locally.

Half of all complaints were made by councillors, with a further 20 coming from members of the public.