National Assembly Committee calls for greater penalties for breaching Members’ Code of Conduct

Published 15/05/2013   |   Last Updated 14/07/2014

National Assembly Committee calls for greater penalties for breaching Members’ Code of Conduct

15 May 2013

A National Assembly for Wales Committee has called for a wider range of sanctions to be available to the Assembly if an Assembly Member is found to have breached the Code of Conduct.

The Standards of Conduct Committee has recommended that the Assembly should be able to exclude AMs for breaches of conduct other than financial or other interests which are currently covered under Standing Orders. Standing Orders are the rules by which the Assembly operates.

The Committee also wants to have the ability to recommend, if necessary, that the Assembly uses its powers under Section 31(4) of the Government of Wales Act 2006 to withdraw other rights and privileges of any Member who breaches the Code of Conduct. These rights and privileges, beyond the removal of salary that is associated with exclusion, could include rights of access to Assembly buildings or to represent the Assembly at events.

The report follows a recommendation by the Independent Standards Commissioner for the Assembly to review its procedures.

A consultation with all 60 Assembly Members drew widespread support for the proposals.

“The Committee’s recommendations demonstrate our commitment to a National Assembly where Members are accountable for their actions if they fall below the high standards expected of them by the people who elected them,” said Mick Antoniw AM, Chair of the Standards of Conduct Committee.

“These amendments to the sanctions regime would bring Assembly procedures more in line with those in place in other UK legislatures, and the Committee is pleased with the response and support we received from the Presiding Officer, Assembly Members and the Standards Commissioner for this report.

“We hope to see our recommendations agreed by the Assembly’s Business Committee and adopted in the Assembly’s Standing Orders.”

The Committee’s report will now be considered by the Assembly’s Business Committee, and if the recommendations are agreed then amendments to Standing Orders must be approved by at least a two-thirds majority of voting Members during Plenary.

Link to more information on the Standards of Conduct Committee

Link to more information on the Standards Commissioner