Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 17 October 2012
Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings
The meeting commenced at 1.31pm in closed session.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that the meeting should be held in closed session.
The Chairperson welcomed Committee Members to the meeting.
There were no apologies.
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.
3. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 3rd October 2012
Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting held on 3rd October 2012 were agreed by the Committee.
4. Matters arising
There were no matters arising.
5. Draft Committee Report on two complaints against a Member
Agreed: Members discussed and agreed the draft Committee Report and ordered that the report be printed.
Agreed: Members agreed that the Deputy Chairperson should sign a motion on behalf of the Committee.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Committee’s report should be embargoed until the commencement of the debate.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Clerk should write to the two complainants and the Member complained of informing them of the Committee’s decision and forwarding a copy of the Committee’s embargoed Report.
1.35pm Mr McCann joined the meeting
1.40pm Mr McCarthy joined the meeting
6. Directions for the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards
Members noted the Clerk’s paper and Legal Advice.
The Clerk briefed the Committee on the background of this issue.
The Chairperson welcomed Ms Tara Caul, Senior Legal Adviser and Mr Simon Kelly, Assistant Legal Adviser, Assembly Legal Services and invited Mr Kelly to brief the Committee on his Legal Advice.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Caul and Mr Kelly for attending the meeting.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that the directions be amended to provide in certain circumstances for complaints about former Members to be admissible and for the Commissioner to be able to initiate investigation into former Members.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that a ‘saving provision’ in relation to investigations transferred from the interim Commissioner be inserted into the General Procedures Direction.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that a final draft of the directions, taking into account the issues raised in the legal advice, should be prepared and forwarded to the Legal Services Office for specific drafting comments.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that the final version of the directions should be agreed at the next committee meeting.
7. Correspondence from the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards
The Committee noted the Clerk’s Paper and correspondence from the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards on a complaint against a Member.
The Chairperson welcomed Mr Douglas Bain to the meeting and congratulated him on behalf of the Committee on his appointment as Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards.
The Chairperson invited Mr Bain to brief the Committee on his correspondence.
Following the briefing the Chairperson thanked Mr Bain for attending the meeting.
Agreed: The Committee agreed with the Commissioner’s conclusion that the complaint was inadmissible.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Clerk should write to the Member complained of and the complainant to inform them of the Committee’s decision.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Clerk should write to the Commissioner informing him that the Committee agrees with his conclusion that the complaint is inadmissible.
8. Any other business
Members noted correspondence from the Speaker in relation to hosting an event for the former interim Assembly Commissioner for Standards.
9. Time, date and place of next meeting
The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 7th November 2012 in Room 144 at 1.30pm (lunch will be available from 1.15pm).
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 2.05pm.
Mr Alastair Ross MLA
Chairperson, Committee on Standards and Privileges
Wednesday 7th November, 2012