Standards Committee plans new law to make Standards Commissioner a statutory post

Published 31/01/2008   |   Last Updated 14/07/2014

Standards Committee plans new law to make Standards Commissioner a statutory post

The Assembly Standards Committee has agreed to introduce a proposed Measure to create a statutory post of Commissioner for Standards. The Commissioner’s role would be to investigate complaints that AMs have broken the Assembly’s Code of Conduct.

The Assembly has the power to create such a post under the 2006 Government of Wales Act, and the Committee wants to use this power to follow the example of Scotland, where the post of Commissioner is already a statutory one. Although the Assembly already has a non-statutory Standards Commissioner he has no power to require AM’s and others to provide him with information relating to complaints. He was also appointed by the Assembly rather than being a fully independent.

This will be the first time an Assembly Committee has proposed a Measure – a Measure is a piece of law made by the Assembly which has similar effect to an Act of Parliament. The Assembly is able to pass Measures on any ‘matter’ listed in Schedule 5 to the 2006 Act.  Matter 13.1 in the Act is: "Creation of, and conferral of functions on, an office or body for and in connection with investigating complaints about the conduct of Assembly members and reporting on the outcome of such investigations to the Assembly.”

Jeff Cuthbert AM, Chair of Standards Committee said: “Making this post a statutory one would ensure that the Commissioner is seen to be totally independent of the Assembly and therefore able to investigate complaints against AMs with complete objectivity. It would also provide the Commissioner with a comprehensive and effective range of powers to enable him or her to investigate complaints rigorously.”