Being A Witness

Published 03/05/2024   |   Last Updated 19/06/2024   |   Reading Time minutes

Senedd Chamber Funnel

This page outlines your duties as a witness and answers some of the questions you may have about it.  A witness is anyone whom I ask to provide information about a complaint I am investigating including the person who made the complaint and the Member complained about.

Your duty to be honest and straightforward

As a witness you have a duty to honestly answer my questions.  You should only rely on what you have seen, heard or done and not on what other people have told you.  If you do not know or cannot remember the answer to anything I ask you, just say so.  Deliberately giving me a false or misleading answer would be a serious matter and in certain circumstances could amount the criminal offence of perjury.

Your duty of confidentiality?

The complaint process is confidential until the Standards of Conduct Committee’s report about it is published. However, if you have concerns about your identity becoming known in a report, redaction is an option that can be considered. You must not discuss anything to do with the complaint with anyone or leak any information about it to the media.  Breaching your duty of confidentiality could prejudice my investigation and would be treated as a very serious matter.

When will I ask you to be a witness?

I will only ask you to be a witness if I believe that you have evidence relevant to the complaint I am investigating.

How will you give your evidence?

If I want you to be a witness, I will usually contact you be email.  I may ask you to give your evidence in a number of ways.  I may send you a questionnaire and ask you to completer it and return it to me. 

I may ask you to meet me informally, either face to face or via Microsoft Teams, so that I can ask you about what you know.  I will try to agree a mutually convenient time and place with you.  After such a meeting I will send you a draft note setting out the main points of your evidence and give you a chance to suggest changes to it.  If we can agree the note that will become your evidence.  If we cannot, it is likely that I would interview you formally.

If I wish to interview you formally, I will try to agree with you a mutually convenient time and place to meet you either face to face or via Microsoft Teams.  If that is not possible, I will decide the time and place. I will then send you a Notice to Attend for the Purpose of Giving Evidence.  The Notice will set out the particular matters about which you will be questioned.  It will set out your rights and draw your attention to the criminal offences that can be committed by failing to comply with the Notice or giving false evidence. It is likely that you will be required to take the oath or make an affirmation to tell the truth.  An audio recording of the interview will be made.  As soon as possible after the interview you will be sent a copy of the recording and the  transcript and allowed at least seven days within which to suggest corrections to it.

What use will be made of my evidence?

I will consider your evidence, along with all the other evidence, in forming my opinion about whether or not the complaint should be upheld.

Who will see my evidence?

Your evidence will form part of my report to the Standards of Conduct Committee.  My report will be included in the Committee’s report to the Senedd.  That report, including my report and your evidence, will be published on the Senedd website.

Will my name become public?

Normally the names of the witnesses are published.  But if doing so may unnecessarily cause you harm or distress it may be possible to refer to you only by a letter such as Witness A.  If you believe that there is good reason why your name should not become public you must tell me.

What support will be available to me?

I appreciate that giving evidence can sometimes be distressing.  Whether you are interviewed informally or formally you will be entitled to have someone with you.  You can choose anyone provided they have no connection with the matter under investigation.

Depending on who you are support may be available from your family and friends, your political party, your trade union and the Senedd Commission

In addition, in appropriate circumstances I will offer you independent support from Victim’s Support.  If you believe that you need such support, you must tell me.

Where can I get further information?

If you have any questions about being a witness, please Contact me.