A ‘rectification procedure’ is provided for in Assembly procedures allowing minor or inadvertent failures by Members to register or declare interests to be addressed by way of an apology from the Member concerned, without the need for the Committee on Standards and Privileges (CSP) to bring a report to the Assembly.
The applicable procedures are provided for in Assembly Standing Order 69C and in paragraph 9 of the Assembly Members (Independent Financial Review and Standards) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 (General Procedures) Direction 2016.
At its meeting on 24 February 2021, the CSP agreed the following additional arrangements in relation to how the rectification procedure will operate in practice:
1) The apology to the Assembly (which will include details of the nature of the interest and a brief explanation of the failure as applicable) will be made:
(a) by means of a point of order in the Chamber when the failure to declare was in the Chamber;
(b) in person to the applicable Committee when the failure to declare was in that Committee;
(c) in writing to the CSP (and published subsequently on the CSP website) when the failure to declare involved one of the ‘other occasions’ cited in the Code of Conduct and the Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members; and
(d) in writing to the CSP (and published subsequently on the CSP website) in the case of a failure to register an interest (in addition to the Register being rectified);
2) In the case of non-registration, a belated entry will be made in the current Assembly Register of Members’ Interests with an explanatory note to read ‘entry added or amended on (insert date), under the Rectification Procedure’; and
3) In individual cases in which the Commissioner for Standards has recommended use of the rectification procedure, the Commissioner will be informed by the CSP Clerk of the outcome of the CSP’s decision on the matter and the Commissioner will subsequently inform the complainant accordingly.
The CSP will review the aforementioned arrangements in due course with a view to identifying any necessary refinements in light of experience.