Press Release

Committee Takes Evidence From Sir Christopher Kelly

Session: 2009/2010

Date: Thursday, 18 February 2010

Reference: SP 05/09/10

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee on Standards and Privileges took evidence today from Sir Christopher Kelly, Chairperson of the Committee on Standards in Public Life which is an independent public body advising Government on ethical standards across the UK.

Sir Christopher gave evidence in relation to the Committee’s Inquiry on enforcing the Assembly’s Code of Conduct and the appointment of an Assembly Commissioner for Standards.

Mr Declan O’Loan, Chairperson of the Committee, said: “The Committee was very pleased to welcome Sir Christopher Kelly today. We found it invaluable to hear evidence from someone of Sir Christopher’s standing who is a recognised authority on all issues relating to standards in public life.”

Mr Willie Clarke, Deputy Chairperson of the Committee, said: “It is the Committee’s aim to ensure that all Members of the Assembly are held to the highest ethical standards and that there is openness and accountability at all times. It is therefore imperative that we have in place a robust mechanism to achieve this. We are most grateful to Sir Christopher for his considered contribution to our deliberations on the Committee Inquiry.”

ENDS


Notes to Editors:

1. The Committee on Standards and Privileges is a Standing Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Committee’s areas of responsibility include the consideration of matters relating to the conduct of members; the examination of arrangements for the compilation, maintenance and accessibility of the Register of Members’ Interests; and the consideration of matters relating to privilege.

2. The aim of the Committee’s current Inquiry is to establish the most appropriate means of maintaining the Assembly’s Code of Conduct and of handling alleged breaches in relation to it.

In doing so the Committee is considering:

  • What the role, responsibilities and powers of an Assembly Commissioner for Standards should be;
  • whether the position of an Assembly Commissioner for Standards should be placed on a statutory basis;
  • how an Assembly Commissioner for Standards should be appointed;
  • what the terms and conditions of any appointment might be;
  • what the role of the Committee on Standards and Privileges should be in dealing with alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct; and
  • what the role of the Assembly should be in dealing with alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct.

3. At today’s meeting the Committee also heard evidence on the inquiry from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

4. The membership of the Committee on Standards and Privileges is as follows:

Mr Declan O’Loan (Chairperson)
Mr Willie Clarke (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Allan Bresland
Mr Thomas Buchanan
Mr Trevor Clarke
Rev Robert Coulter
Mr Billy Leonard
Mr Paul Maskey
Mr Alastair Ross
Mr George Savage
Mr Brian Wilson

All enquiries regarding the work of the Committee should be directed to the Clerk of Standards, Mr Paul Gill, Room 284, Parliament Buildings, Belfast, BT4 3XX (028 905 20333).

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