Press Notice 26 (6 July 2011)

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Annual Report April 2010-March 2011

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, John Lyon, today publishes his annual report for 2010-11.

The Report covers the work of the Commissioner during the year, including his investigation of complaints, his preparation of the first Registers of Interests after the election and his review of the first year of this new Parliament.

After a particularly heavy year in 2009-10 for complaints, in the last year the Commissioner inquired into 37 complaints, including 25 brought forward from the previous year. He completed work on all but four of these and upheld 24 in whole or in part. On average, therefore, the Commissioner completed more than one inquiry every two weeks.

"In his Foreword Mr Lyon says: This has been the year of a new start for a new Parliament. ... There is now the opportunity for all parts of the House, returning and new Members alike, to restore and improve the standing and reputation of Parliament, and public confidence in its elected Members.

With my staff, I have been pleased to give all Members such help, support and advice as we can to assist in this important task. It is important for all Members that they should attract the confidence of constituents in their conduct and propriety. It is equally important that the public know that, with those standards met, the House and its Members are able to concentrate on the work they carry out on behalf of their constituents and the country as a whole."

The Commissioner’s contribution to this important first year of the new Parliament has been in three main areas:

  • clearing the complaints legacy and increasing transparency about inquiries;
  • inducting Members and their staff on the Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules; and
  • starting work on reviewing the Code of Conduct for Members to ensure it remains relevant and up to date.

Notes for Editors:

1.   This Report covers the period 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011.

2.   The current framework for Parliamentary Standards dates from 1995, when the first Commissioner was appointed. Mr Lyon is the fourth Commissioner. He was appointed for five years with effect from 1 January 2008.

3.    The Commissioner’s main duties are: 

  • overseeing the maintenance of the Register of Members’ Financial Interests and the other registers of interests for Members’ staff, journalists and All-Party Groups;
  • with the Registrar of Members’ Financial Interests, advising on the registration and declaration of interests;
  • advising the Committee on Standards and Privileges on the interpretation of the Code of Conduct;
  • monitoring the operation of the Code and registers and making recommendations to the Committee thereon;
  • receiving, investigating and reporting to the Committee on complaints against Members.

4.    The Commissioner’s remit does not extend to the House of Lords. Information about the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-interests/the-commissioner-for-standards/

The Commissioner’s Annual Report can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmcomstan.htm

Memoranda on individual cases investigated by the Commissioner during the year are published as appendixes to Reports of the Committee on Standards and Privileges, and can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/standards-and-privileges-committee/publications/

Details of cases concluded via the rectification process since 2008 can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-interests/pcfs/publications/inquiries/matters-rectifiied/

Details of cases not upheld without a memorandum to the Committee since 2008 can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-interests/pcfs/publications/inquiries/matters-not-upheld/

Information about the Commissioner’s current caseload can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-interests/pcfs/publications/inquiries/current-inquiries/

Statistics on complaints can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-interests/pcfs/publications/inquiries/complaints-statistics/

Description of the process for investigating complaints can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/pcfs/procedural-notes/pcfscomplaintsleaflet.pdf (PDF PDF 42 KB)

The latest edition of the Register of Members’ Financial Interests can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmregmem/contents.htm

5.   The Commissioner’s office is available for media enquiries on 020 7219 1883.