Process for complaints against Assembly Members - Key elements

Download this complaints process as a flowchart (PDF, 1 page, 448KB)

The process begins with either a complaint (by another MLA or member of public) sent directly to Commissioner for Standards or a complaint sent to the Committee on Standards and Privileges and the Clerk of the Committee forwards complaint to Commissioner for Standards (subject to complainant's consent).


  • Commissioner notifies MLA who is the subject of complaint that complaint has been received.
  • Commissioner considers whether complaint is admissible (may request additional information from complainant).

If not admissible:

  • Commissioner will notify complainant and the MLA who is subject of complaint. 
  • If complainant appeals admissibility, Commissioner forwards complaint to Committee to decide whether the Commissioner should reconsider.

If admissible:

  • Commissioner will notify complainant and MLA who is the subject of complaint.
  • Commissioner undertakes investigation into complaint in accordance with established procedures and provides a report for Committee consideration.
  • Committee Clerk issues investigation report to MLA who is the subject of complaint and offers opportunity for comment and/or to appear before Committee.
  • Committee briefed on the investigation report by Commissioner.
  • Committee considers if it agrees with Commissioner’s report and what, if any, sanctions for the MLA should be recommended to the Assembly.
  • Committee prepares report of its consideration of the investigation and appends Commissioner’s report and any other relevant information.
  • Committee considers if any redactions to the Commissioner’s investigation report are required before agreeing its report.

If no sanctions recommended:

  • The Committee will publish its report and send copies to complainant and MLA who is the subject of complaint.

If Committee recommends sanctions:

  • A motion will be agreed for plenary debate on Committee’s report.
  • Committee’s report is embargoed and published at the commencement of the debate. Copies are sent to complainant and MLA who is subject of complaint
  • Assembly decides on whether to implement sanctions.


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