Civil Service (Special Advisers) Bill Notice of Amendments tabled on 14 March 2013 for Consideration Stage

Clause 2

The Members listed below give notice of their intention to oppose the question that clause 2 stand part of the Bill.

Ms Judith Cochrane
Mr Trevor Lunn
Mr Stewart Dickson
Mr Chris Lyttle

Clause 3

The Members listed below give notice of their intention to oppose the question that clause 3 stand part of the Bill.

Ms Judith Cochrane
Mr Trevor Lunn
Mr Stewart Dickson
Mr Chris Lyttle

Clause 6, Page 3, Line 3

At end insert -

‘( ) Where a Minister proposes to appoint a special adviser, such an appointment shall be subject to the terms of the code.’

Ms Judith Cochrane
Mr Trevor Lunn
Mr Stewart Dickson
Mr Chris Lyttle

Clause 6, Page 3, Line 4

Leave out subsection (2) and insert -

‘(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the code must provide that the appointment of special advisers must be subject to-

(a)  an assessment of the candidate’s character by the Department of Finance and Personnel, including a criminal record check; and

(b) a recommendation to the appointing Minister regarding test of character, consistent with the decision that would have been taken with any other applicant to the NICS.’

Ms Judith Cochrane
Mr Trevor Lunn
Mr Stewart Dickson
Mr Chris Lyttle

Clause 6, Page 3, Line 7

At end insert -

‘( ) Until such times as the appointment process has been completed, and an appointment made in accordance with the code, no person may exercise the functions or be entitled to the benefits and privileges of a special adviser.

( ) The code must provide for a mechanism that would allow an appointing Minister or a prospective candidate to appeal to an independent panel appointed for that purpose by the First Minister and deputy First Minister.’

Ms Judith Cochrane
Mr Trevor Lunn
Mr Stewart Dickson
Mr Chris Lyttle

Clause 2, Page 1, Line 9

Leave out subsection (1) and insert -

‘(1) Where a Minister proposes to appoint as a special adviser a person who has a conviction for a conflict-related offence, the Minister must refer the proposed appointment to the Commissioners.’

Mr Dominic Bradley
Mr Alban Maginness

Clause 2, Page 1

Leave out line 17 and insert -

‘the Minister who appointed that person must, after consultation with that person, refer the appointment to the Commissioners, within 21 days of this subsection coming into operation.’

Mr Dominic Bradley
Mr Alban Maginness

New Clause

After clause 2 insert -

 ‘Meaning of “conflict-related offence”

2A. In this Act ‘conflict-related offence’ means-

(a)  an offence for which a person was released on licence under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998, and that licence has not been revoked, or

(b) an offence for which a person would have been released on licence under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998, had the person not already been released before that Act came into operation.’

Mr Dominic Bradley
Mr Alban Maginness

New Clause

After clause 2 insert -

‘Determination of eligibility of special advisers by Commissioners

2B.-(1) Where-

(a)  a proposed appointment is referred to the Commissioners under section 2(1), or

(b) an appointment is referred to the Commissioners under section 2(3),

the Commissioners shall determine whether the person is eligible for appointment as, or to continue to hold appointment as, a special adviser.

(2) The Commissioners shall only determine that a person is eligible for appointment as, or to continue to hold appointment as, a special adviser, if satisfied that it is reasonable to do so-

(a)  after having regard to the matters set out in subsection (3), and

(b) in the case of a proposed appointment, after taking account of the outcome of the vetting procedures mentioned in subsection (4).

(3) Those matters are-

(a)  the nature of the offence to which the serious criminal conviction relates,

(b) the relevance of the nature of the offence to the person’s role as a special adviser, and

(c)  such other matters as the Commissioners consider relevant.

(4) The Commissioners must arrange for the proposed appointee to be the subject of the same vetting procedures as apply to the appointment of persons as Senior Civil Servants to the Northern Ireland Civil Service.’

Mr Dominic Bradley
Mr Alban Maginness

New Clause

After clause 2 insert -

‘Appeals against Commissioners’ determinations

2C.-(1) Where a person who is the subject of a determination of the Commissioners is aggrieved by that determination, that person may appeal to the High Court.

(2) The appeal can only be brought on the ground that it was not reasonable for the Commissioners to make that determination.

(3) The appeal must be brought within 21 days from the day on which the Commissioners made the determination.

(4) On hearing the appeal, the High Court may make such order as it thinks fit in respect of a person’s eligibility for appointment as, or to continue to hold appointment as, a special adviser.’

Mr Dominic Bradley
Mr Alban Maginness

Clause 6, Page 3, Line 4

Leave out subsection (2) and insert -

‘(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the code must provide that persons proposed for appointment as special advisers-

(a)  must be subject to the same vetting procedures as persons to be appointed as Senior Civil Servants to the Northern Ireland Civil Service,

(b) must not be subject to further vetting procedures if they have been subject to vetting procedures in accordance with section (Determination of eligibility of special advisers by Commissioners).’

Mr Dominic Bradley
Mr Alban Maginness

Clause 8, Page 3, Line 19

At end insert -

‘ “the Commissioners” means the Civil Service Commissioners for Northern Ireland,’

Mr Dominic Bradley
Mr Alban Maginness

Clause 10, Page 3, Line 32

After ‘Sections’ insert ‘2(3), (Meaning of “conflict-related offence”), (Determination of eligibility of special advisers by Commissioners),

Mr Dominic Bradley
Mr Alban Maginness

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