In June 2003, the House of Commons amplified the
duties of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to include
the submission of an annual report to the House on the exercise
of his functions. I am pleased to present this, my second report,
covering the period 1 April 2003-31 March 2004.
The principal duties of the Commissioner are set
out in Standing Order No 150.
- Overseeing the maintenance
and monitoring the operation of the Register of Members' Interests
and the other Registers relating to Members' staff and research
assistants, Parliamentary lobby journalists and All Party Parliamentary
- advising Members and others confidentially on
matters relating to registration
- advising the Committee on Standards and Privileges
and individual Members on the interpretation of the House's Code
of Conduct, and more generally on questions of propriety
- receiving and, if he thinks fit, investigating
specific complaints against Members alleging breaches of the Code
or of the Rules on the registration and declaration of interests.
In this report, I set out something of what this
list of duties means in practice. In my last report I explained
that I am trying to adopt a strategic approach to my work by:
- taking opportunities to strengthen
the machinery for sustaining high standards of conduct among MPs
- putting more effort into trying to prevent problems
before they arise
- ensuring greater openness about how the system
for regulating conduct works, coupled with a proper degree of
confidentiality about individual cases.
This report sets out what further work has been done
in each of these respects over the past year. I believe it records
solid progress on all fronts.
That record is of potential interest to both Members
and the public. To try to increase this reports value to both,
I have further refined and amplified the statistical material
about complaints in Section 3. In the same section, I have also
described lessons of general relevance which have emerged from
the Committee on Standards and Privileges' consideration of particular
Promoting and sustaining high standards of conduct
in the House is not just a task for the Commissioner, but a responsibility
falling on all Members. In carrying forward my part in this task,
I work closely with the Committee on Standards and Privileges
and the authorities of the House, as well as with the House's
senior officers. I pay tribute to their help and support, and
that of my immediate colleagues during what has been a challenging
but positive year.
10 June 2004 Sir Philip Mawer
1 My first report was published as HC 905, Session
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