House of Lords Commissioner for Standards

The House of Lords Commissioner for Standards is responsible for the independent and impartial investigation of alleged breaches of the House of Lords Code of Conduct. This includes investigating breaches of the rules on Members’ financial support and parliamentary facilities

The current Commissioner is Paul Kernaghan CBE QPM, who was originally appointed on 2 June 2010 and reappointed on 22 May 2013. He was Chief Constable of the Hampshire Constabulary from 1999 until 2008.

Complaints

Anyone wishing to make a complaint against a Member of the House of Lords concerning a matter within the Commissioner's remit should write to The House of Lords Commissioner for Standards, House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW. Please note that complaints submitted by telephone or email will not be considered.

When making a complaint the following information should be provided:

  • in what respect the Member concerned has breached the Code of Conduct, or broken the rules governing the use of financial support or parliamentary facilities
  • as much evidence as possible in support of the complaint
  • name, postal address, telephone number and, if possible, email address.

The Commissioner conducts a preliminary assessment of all complaints. Following this preliminary assessment he will inform both the complainant and the Member concerned whether or not he will investigate the complaint. If the Commissioner decides that a complaint does not merit investigation then he will provide the person who has complained with a brief explanation of the reasons for his decision.

A full explanation of the investigation process can be found in the Guide to the Code of Conduct.

For general enquiries the office of the Commissioner can be contacted on 020 7219 7152 and at lordsstandards@parliament.uk.

Reports on complaints

When the Commissioner conducts an investigation into a member, he reports his findings to the Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct. The Sub-Committee reports in turn to the Committee for Privileges and Conduct, recommending a sanction where necessary if the Commissoner finds that a member has breached the Code of Conduct. The Committee for Privileges and Conduct hears any appeal against a finding of breach of the sanction recommended. The Committee for Privileges and Conduct reports to the House, and appends to its report the report of the Commissioner. It is only when the Committee for Privileges and Conduct has published its report that the Commissioner's report becomes public. Until then information on his investigations remains confidential.

Annual reports

The Commissioner’s annual reports cover the period from the start of June to the end of May each year. The reports detail the number of complaints received in that period and indicate how the complaints were resolved.

Report on the conduct of Lord Redesdale

In the Commissioner's report on the conduct of Lord Redesdale he states that, because of its length, the complaint which prompted the Commissioner's investigation would be published online rather than as an appendix to his report. The complaint, which is in three parts, can be found here:

The report on the case of the Committee for Privileges and Conduct, which contains the report of the Commissioner for Standards, can be found here:

Report on the conduct of Lord Hamilton of Epsom

The Commissioner for Standards has investigated a complaint into the conduct of Lord Hamilton of Epsom. He submitted his report to the Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct on 1 March 2012. The Commissioner found that Lord Hamilton was in breach of the Code of Conduct by failing to declare a relevant interest during a debate. Lord Hamilton accepted that he was in breach and his letter of apology to the chairman of the Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct is appended to the commissioner's report. The Committee for Privileges and Conduct has agreed that the commissioner's report should be published here (4 April 2012).

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright

Related links

Lords’ Conduct (Sub-Committee)

The Sub-Committee on Lords’ Conduct undertakes detailed consideration of matters relating to the Code of Conduct.