Advice on Making a Complaint against a Member

Making a complaint

Any complaint against a Member for failure to comply with the Code of Conduct and the Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members should be made in writing to the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards, either by correspondence addressed to Room 283, Parliament Buildings, Belfast, BT4 3XX or by email to douglas.bain@niassembly.gov.uk

The Commissioner may investigate a complaint only where that complaint is admissible.

For a complaint to be admissible it must –

  • state the name and postal address of the complainant;
  • name the Member who is the subject of the complaint;
  • include an allegation that a breach of the Code of Conduct has occurred;
  • state which part of the Code of Conduct the complainant alleges to have been breached;
  • be substantiated (i.e. include enough supporting evidence to establish a prima facie case that a breach of the Code of Conduct has occurred);
  • relate to alleged conduct which falls within the scope of the Code of Conduct; and
  • be made within one year from the date when the complainant ought reasonably to have made the complaint.

A complaint about a former Member is not admissible unless –

  • the complaint is made within four weeks of the former Member having ceased to be a Member; and
  • the Commissioner, having due regard to value for money considerations and the nature of the complaint, believes that it is in the public interest for the complaint to be investigated.

 
The Commissioner must make arrangements to facilitate any complainant who is not able to submit their complaint in writing, for example due to disability or language difficulties.

Further detail on the handling of complaints is set out in the Direction by the Committee on Standards and Privileges on General Procedures.

Should you require any advice on the Complaints Procedure please contact Mr Paul Gill, Clerk of Standards, Room 254, Parliament Buildings, Belfast, BT4 3XX.  Tel: (028) 9052 0399
Email: committee.standards&privileges@niassembly.gov.uk

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