Anti-Semitism legislation progressing at the Northern Ireland Assembly as well as updates on training in the subject matter
Information Standards Freedom of Information Response
Our Ref: FoI 33-21
17 September 2021
Freedom of Information Act 2000
I can confirm that the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission (Assembly Commission) holds some information relevant to your request of 20 August 2021. In your request you asked for the following information:
“Q1. Definition of anti-Semitism
Q1a. Since you responded to our last request on 12th November 2019, we understand that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition of anti-Semitism (‘IHRA Definition’) may have been adopted by the Northern Ireland Assembly. See anti-Semitism.org/definition for more information about the IHRA Definition and the IHRA statement on the integrality of the examples.
Kindly confirm if the IHRA Definition was adopted and on what date. Please provide a working link to the minutes/motion evidencing adoption.
Please also confirm that the adoption included the illustrative examples.
Q1b. Since adoption by the Assembly, please confirm if any motions amending or rejecting adoption have been passed or defeated by the Assembly?
Q1c If your answer to Q1b is yes, kindly confirm what was amended the date of amendment/rejection and a copy/working link to the motion/minutes amending or rejecting adoption.
The Assembly Commission has not adopted The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition.
The Assembly Commission debated a motion on anti-Semitism on Tuesday 27 April 2021. Two amendments were tabled to this motion. One Amendment was selected for debate. Following debate, the amendment fell on oral vote and the motion was carried, also on oral vote. Here is a link to the text of the motion and amendments, and to the official proceedings of the debate.
Q2. Codes of Conduct
Q2a. Has the IHRA Definition been incorporated into the members’ code of conduct?
Q2b. Has the IHRA Definition been incorporated into the officers’ and employees’ code of conduct and conditions of employment?
Q2c. Who is the person 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.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition has not been incorporated for Assembly Commission staff or the Code of Conduct for Assembly Members.
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.
Q3a Is the IHRA Definition used to define anti-Semitism for disciplinary purposes?
Q3b If not, how is anti-Semitism defined for disciplinary purposes?
Q3c. How many formal complaints of anti-Semitic conduct has the Assembly considered between 1st January 2020 and 31st December 2020 against members, officers or Assembly employees?
Q3c. How many complaints resulted in disciplinary action?
Q3d. How many complaints resulted in no disciplinary action?
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition has not been used to define anti-Semitism for disciplinary purposes for Assembly Commission staff.
Disciplinary action may result from discrimination or harassment on any of the grounds referred to in the Equal Opportunities Policy or Dignity at Work Policy. The Policy defines these behaviours as:
Any form of unwanted, unreasonable and offensive conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. Conduct shall be regarded as having this effect only if, having regard to all the circumstances and in particular the complainant’s perception, it should be reasonably considered as having that effect.
No formal complaints of anti-Semitic conduct have been made against staff between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020. Complaints against Members are made to the Commissioner for Standards. The 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.
Q4b. What training does the Northern Ireland Assembly provide to its members, officers and employees specifically on anti-Semitism 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 Assembly in-house or is it outsourced to a training provider?
Q4d. If such specific training on anti-Semitism is outsourced, which organisation(s) provide the training?”
The 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 address: email@example.com
Telephone number: 028 9041 8377
The Assembly Commission has not provided any training in relation to anti-Semitism to staff or Members.
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.
The Assembly Commission may publish details of your FOI request and our official response within the organisational disclosure log. The request will be completely anonymised and you will not be identified in any way. This is to meet the requirements as laid out by in the agreed publication scheme with the Information Commissioners’ Office.
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above.