Anti-Semitism legislation progressing at the Northern Ireland Assembly
Information Standards Freedom of Information Response
Our Ref: FoI 28-19
12 November 2019
Freedom of Information Act 2000
“Q1. Definition of antisemitism
Q1a. Has the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition of Antisemitism (‘IHRA Definition’) been adopted by the Northern Ireland Assembly? See antisemitism.uk/definition for more information about the IHRA Definition.
Q1b. If the IHRA Definition has been adopted, please provide the date that the motion to do so was approved.
Q1c. If the IHRA Definition has been adopted, was the IHRA Definition adopted in its entirety including all of the examples?
Q1d. If all of the examples were not adopted, which ones were omitted?
Q1e. If the IHRA Definition has not been adopted at all, was there a motion to adopt the IHRA Definition which was defeated, and if so on what date was it defeated?
Q1f. If the IHRA Definition has not yet been adopted, has adoption been timetabled?”
The Northern Ireland Assembly has not adopted the IHRA Definition.
The text of motions, amendments to motions, questions and answers to questions, as well as other plenary items tabled in the Assembly Business Office can be found on the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission website through the Assembly Information Management System (“AIMS”) portal. Please find a link to the AIMS portal here.
The AIMS portal may be searched by a number of factors include key word or phrase, type of business, or date.
Any reference to matters relevant to this subject in business tabled in the Assembly can be found by searching AIMS using the link provided above.
“Q2. Codes of Conduct
Q2a. If adopted, has the IHRA Definition been incorporated into the officers’ and employees’ code of conduct and conditions of employment?”
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition has not been incorporated for Assembly Commission staff or the Code of Conduct for Assembly Members.
Q2b. Who is responsible for investigating or monitoring alleged breaches of the Assembly’s codes of conduct? Please provide their name, job title, e-mail address and direct telephone number.”
Any breaches of the Standard of Conduct policy are dealt with under the Disciplinary policy for employees. The Head of Business or Human Resources Office appoints investigating officers and Human Resource Office monitors disciplinary cases.
It is the role of the independent Assembly Commissioner for Standards to investigate any complaints of alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct for Assembly Members. Please click here for further details on the role and duties of the Commissioner for Standards.
The post of Commissioner is currently vacant. It is expected that a new Commissioner will be appointed when Assembly business resumes. All correspondence received by the Commissioner’s Office, while the post remains vacant, will be acknowledged, recorded and passed to the next Commissioner for Standards as soon as one is appointed by the Assembly. In the meantime, correspondence can be directed to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q3a. How many formal complaints of antisemitic conduct has the Northern Ireland Assembly considered between 1st January 2017 and 31st December 2018 against members, officers or council employees?”
Q3b. How many complaints resulted in disciplinary action?”
Q3c. How many complaints resulted in no disciplinary action?”
No formal complaints of antisemitic conduct have been made against staff. Complaints against Members are made to the Commissioner for Standards. The Northern Ireland Assembly Commission does not hold this information.
“Q4. Equality, diversity & training
Q4a. Who is responsible for complying with the Northern Ireland Assembly’s legal obligations in relation to equality and diversity? Please provide their name, job title, e-mail address and direct telephone number.”
The Northern Ireland Assembly Commission is responsible for complying with legal obligations in relation to its staff. Contact details for the Equality Manager within the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission are as follows:
Maria Bannon, Equality Manager, email@example.com
Telephone number: 02890 521137.
Q4b. What training does the Northern Ireland Assembly provide to its members, officers and employees specifically on antisemitism as opposed to generally against all forms of discrimination prohibited under S75 Northern Ireland Act 1998?
Q4c. If such specific training on antisemitism is provided, is it conducted by the Northern Ireland Assembly in-house or is it outsourced to a training provider? Q4d. If such specific training on antisemitism is outsourced, which organisation(s) provide the training?”
The Northern Ireland Assembly Commission has not provided any training in relation to antisemitism to staff or Members.
The Clerking and Members Support Office consult with parties at the beginning of the calendar year to agree strategic priorities and an annual action plan – training on antisemitism has never been raised through these discussions. The annual action plan does set out that “Training and development on issues not listed in the menu may be provided on request”.
If you feel that the information we have provided does not meet your request fully, please contact this office as soon as possible. You have the right to request a formal review by the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission and if you wish to do so, please write to me at the above address.
If after such an internal review you are still unhappy with the response, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF who will undertake an independent review.
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above.
Data Protection and Information Standards Officer