Process for complaints against Assembly Members - Key elements
The process begins with either a complaint (by another MLA or member of public) sent directly to Commissioner for Standards or a complaint sent to the Committee on Standards and Privileges and the Clerk of the Committee forwards complaint to Commissioner for Standards (subject to complainant's consent).
- Commissioner notifies MLA who is the subject of complaint that complaint has been received.
- Commissioner considers whether complaint is admissible (may request additional information from complainant).
If not admissible:
- Commissioner will notify complainant and the MLA who is subject of complaint.
- If complainant appeals admissibility, Commissioner forwards complaint to Committee to decide whether the Commissioner should reconsider.
- Commissioner will notify complainant and MLA who is the subject of complaint.
- Commissioner undertakes investigation into complaint in accordance with established procedures and provides a report for Committee consideration.
- Committee Clerk issues investigation report to MLA who is the subject of complaint and offers opportunity for comment and/or to appear before Committee.
- Committee briefed on the investigation report by Commissioner.
- Committee considers if it agrees with Commissioner’s report and what, if any, sanctions for the MLA should be recommended to the Assembly.
- Committee prepares report of its consideration of the investigation and appends Commissioner’s report and any other relevant information.
- Committee considers if any redactions to the Commissioner’s investigation report are required before agreeing its report.
If no sanctions recommended:
- The Committee will publish its report and send copies to complainant and MLA who is the subject of complaint.
If Committee recommends sanctions:
- A motion will be agreed for plenary debate on Committee’s report.
- Committee’s report is embargoed and published at the commencement of the debate. Copies are sent to complainant and MLA who is subject of complaint
- Assembly decides on whether to implement sanctions.