Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 04 July 2012

Venue: Room 144, Parliament Buildings

 The meeting commenced at 1.34pm in closed session.          

Chairperson’s Introduction

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that the meeting should be held in closed session as the Committee was considering reports from the interim Assembly Commissioner for Standards.

The Chairperson welcomed Committee Members to the meeting.  The Chairperson welcomed Mr Alex Maskey, who replaced Mr Pat Doherty, to his first meeting of the Committee.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that the Chairperson should write to Mr Doherty expressing the Committee’s gratitude for his input to the work of the Committee.

1. Apologies

As detailed above.

2. Declaration of Interests

The Chairperson reminded Members of their obligation to declare any relevant financial or other interests before and during each Committee meeting.

The Committee noted the registered interests of Mr Maskey.

Ms Bradley declared an interest in agenda item 6.

3. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 20th June 2012

Agreed:  The draft minutes of the meeting held on 20th June 2012 were agreed by the Committee. 

4. Matters arising 

There were no matters arising. 

5. Consideration of Reports from the interim Assembly Commissioner for Standards on complaints against a Member

Members noted the Clerk’s paper and two reports received from the interim Assembly Commissioner for Standards on complaints against a Member.

1.36pm  The Chairperson welcomed Dr Tom Frawley and invited him to brief the Committee on each of his reports.

1.41pm Ms Marie Anderson, Ombudsman’s Office joined the meeting.

2.19pm Ms Bradley and Mr Agnew left the meeting.

2.22pm Ms Bradley returned to the meeting.

2.23pm Mr Agnew returned to the meeting.

2.25pm Following discussion the Committee thanked Dr Frawley and Ms Anderson for attending the meeting.

Following discussion on the interim Commissioner’s first report, the Chairperson put the question that the Committee accepts the interim Assembly Commissioner for Standards’ conclusion that the Member has breached the Code of Conduct.

AYES                                     NOES                                     ABSTENTION

Mr Alex Maskey                     Mr Alastair Ross                     None

Mr Fra McCann                      Ms Paula Bradley

Mr Cathal Boylan                   Mr Jonathan Craig

Mr Steven Agnew                   Mr David McIlveen

Mr Kieran McCarthy              Mrs Sandra Overend

As the votes were equal the motion fell.

The Chairperson then put the question that the Committee rejects the interim Assembly Commissioner for Standards’ conclusion that the Member has breached the Code of Conduct.

AYES                                     NOES                                     ABSTENTION

Mr Alastair Ross                     Mr Alex Maskey                     None

Ms Paula Bradley                    Mr Fra McCann

Mr Jonathan Craig                  Mr Cathal Boylan

Mr David McIlveen                Mr Steven Agnew

Mrs Sandra Overend               Mr Kieran McCarthy

As the votes were equal the motion fell.

Following discussion on the interim Commissioner’s second report, the Chairperson put the question that the Committee accepts the interim Assembly Commissioner for Standards’ conclusion that the Member has breached the Code of Conduct.

AYES                                     NOES                                     ABSTENTION

Mr Alex Maskey                     Mr Alastair Ross                     None

Mr Fra McCann                      Ms Paula Bradley

Mr Cathal Boylan                   Mr Jonathan Craig

Mr Steven Agnew                   Mr David McIlveen

Mr Kieran McCarthy              Mrs Sandra Overend

As the votes were equal the motion fell.

The Chairperson then put the question that the Committee rejects the interim Assembly Commissioner for Standards’ conclusion that the Member has breached the Code of Conduct.

AYES                                     NOES                                     ABSTENTION

Mr Alastair Ross                     Mr Alex Maskey                     None

Ms Paula Bradley                    Mr Fra McCann

Mr Jonathan Craig                  Mr Cathal Boylan

Mr David McIlveen                Mr Steven Agnew

Mrs Sandra Overend               Mr Kieran McCarthy

As the votes were equal the motion fell.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to schedule further consideration of these complaints to a future meeting after the summer recess.

6. Application for an All-Party Group on Mental Health

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to the formation of an All-Party Group on Mental Health.

7. Any other business

The Clerk informed the Committee that further to the Assembly’s agreement to appoint Mr Douglas Bain as the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards from 17th September 2012, the Assembly Commission had agreed to commence the remaining outstanding provisions of the Assembly Members (Independent Financial Review and Standards) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011from this date as well. 

The Clerk informed the Committee that the Committee on Procedures had agreed to bring forward for the Assembly’s consideration on 17th September the necessary changes to Standing Orders in respect of the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards.

The Clerk also informed the Committee that a written Assembly Question to the Assembly Commission had been tabled on the cost of the interim Commissioner’s investigation on the Unauthorised Disclosure of a draft Report of the Public Accounts Committee.  The Committee noted the cost of the investigation and that the question was due to be answered next week by the relevant Commission Member.

The Committee agreed that it would not ask the interim Commission to undertake further investigative work in respect of his report on the Unauthorised Disclosure of a draft Report of the Public Accounts Committee.

8. Time, date and place of next meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 5th July 2012 at 9.30am in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3.10pm.

Mr Alastair Ross MLA
Chairperson, Committee on Standards and Privileges
5th July 2012

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