Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 28 March 2012

Venue: Room 21

The meeting commenced at 1.30pm in open session.

Chairperson’s Introduction

The Chairperson welcomed Committee Members to the meeting. 

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that the meeting should move into closed session for agenda items 5 and 6 and that Information Systems Office staff should remain in the room during this time to assist members in the use of the electronic devices being used to pilot the electronic committee pack.

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.

1.32pm Mr Doherty joined the meeting

3. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 14th December 2011

Agreed:  The draft minutes of the meeting held on 14th December 2011 were agreed by the Committee. 

4. Matters arising

Members noted that the closing date for applications for the post of Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards had passed and that it is hoped that following the interview process the Assembly will be in a position to appoint the new Commissioner in June.

1.34pm  The meeting moved into closed session

5. Consideration of correspondence from the interim Assembly Commissioner for Standards

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

1.36pm The Chairperson welcomed Ms Marie Anderson, Deputy Ombudsman and Ms Gillian Coey, Ombudsman’s Office and invited Ms Anderson to brief the Committee.  The Committee noted the interim Assembly Commissioner for Standards’ apology as he was unable to attend the Committee meeting due to having a prior engagement.

1.39pm Mr McCann joined the meeting

1.43pm  Following discussion the Chairperson thanked Ms Anderson for attending the meeting.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that the complaint was inadmissible and that the Clerk should write to the complainant’s solicitor and the Member complained of, setting out the Committee’s position.

6. Report of the Independent Financial Review Panel 

The Clerk briefed the Committee on the background to this issue.

Ms Bradley declared an interest as a director of a company, although she does not received any remuneration at present.

Agreed:  Following discussion the Committee agreed that the Clerk should write to the Panel setting out the Committee’s position.  It was further agreed that the Clerk should write to relevant Members reminding them of their obligations as defined in the Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules Relating to Members.

2.00pm  The meeting returned to open session

2.01pm  Mr McCarthy left the meeting

2.01pm Mr Craig joined the meeting

7. Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards’ Review of the Guide to the Rules Relating to the Conduct of Members

Members noted the Clerk’s paper and the consultation paper on the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards’ Review of the Guide to the Rules Relating to the Conduct of Members.

Agreed: Following a briefing from the Clerk on this issue the Committee agreed the draft committee response to the consultation paper.

2.05pm  Ms Bradley left the meeting.

8. Review of Cross-Party Groups – Scottish Parliament

Members noted the Clerk’s paper and the consultation paper on the Review of Cross-Party Groups in the Scottish Parliament.

Agreed: Following a briefing from the Clerk on this issue the Committee agreed the draft committee response to the consultation paper.

9. Any other business

Members noted the minutes of the meeting of the Committee on Standards in Public Life on 19th January 2012 which the Chairperson and Clerk had attended.

Members noted that an updated version of the Register of Members’ Interests will be published on 30th March 2012.

Members noted the UK has been selected as one of the first group of states to undergo the Council of Europe’s evaluation of measures on parliamentary and judicial bribery and that the UK response is being led by the Ministry of Justice in Whitehall.  

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that the Chairperson and Clerk should meet with the evaluation team.

The Chairperson requested that Members complete the ‘Feedback Form’ on the pilot of the Electronic Committee Pack which has been tabled.

10. Time, date and place of next meeting

Members will be informed in due course of the date of the next meeting.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 2.13pm.

Mr Alastair Ross MLA
Chairperson, Committee on Standards and Privileges
06th June 2012

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