Report on the Review of the Assembly Members’ Code of Conduct and the Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members: Stage 1
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This report is 78 pages and is approximately 1.4MB in size.
Arising from its priority planning event on 11 March 2020, the Committee on Standards and Privileges identified a ‘General review of the Code and Guide’ as a strategic priority for the remainder of the Mandate. The Committee subsequently agreed its strategic plan 2020-22 on 04 November 2020, which provided for the review to be undertaken in two stages: with stage 1 addressing urgent and straightforward amendments; and stage 2 covering more complex and detailed issues (including the arrangements for handling complaints of inappropriate/unacceptable behaviour).
The overall aim of the review is to ensure that the rules and guidance keep pace with best practice in ethical standards. It is envisaged that the outcome will be an improved Code of Conduct and Guide and Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members (‘the Code and Guide’) which reduces the risk of non-compliance and resultant reputational damage; increases transparency; and leads to increased public confidence associated with a strengthened standards regime.
This report represents the output from stage 1 of the review. The issues considered as part of stage 1 included: updating monetary thresholds for the registration (and/or exemption from registration) of certain categories of interests; introducing a requirement on Members to register the value or estimated value of gift/benefit/hospitality and visits; and various consequential amendments and textual improvements to clarify existing provisions and achieve consistency in both the Code and the Guide. These issues were identified since the Code and Guide were last updated in June 2016, including by the previous Committee, by the last Commissioner for Standards and as a result of the experience of the registration process in the current Mandate and developments in comparator legislatures.