5.12 Until recently, complaints about a named
member of staff, journalist or all-party group were virtually
non-existent and such as arose were capable of being dealt with
informally by the Registrar. However, in the past year I received
two formal complaints in connection with these registers. Both
complaints were about Members' staff and are detailed below.
5.13 The first complaint alleged that a Member's
researcher had failed to register that he was a councillor and
a director of a publishing company. I upheld the first of these
allegations and recommended that the rectification procedure applied
to Members in cases of late registration should, for the first
time, also be applied by analogy to Members' staff. The Committee
on Standards and Privileges subsequently agreed this course of
action. I did not uphold the second allegation because the directorship
was unremunerated and was therefore exempt from registration.
5.14 The second complaint alleged that a Member's
researcher had failed to register remunerated posts he held with
several companies and also gifts and benefits he had received.
It was further alleged that the researcher had abused the privileged
access to Parliament he was afforded by his pass by using the
latter to bring clients of his into the House of Commons in order
to introduce them to Members. Having investigated the allegations,
I found no evidence to support them (there being no evidence,
for example, that the posts in question were remunerated) and
so no part of the complaint was upheld.
5.15 In both cases I reported my findings to
the Committee on Standards and Privileges. Since the only proven
breach of the rules was a relatively minor one, the Committee
did not publish a report on either complaint.