Standards in Public Office Act 2001

Complaints to Commission.

4

4.—(1) Where a person (“the complainant”) considers that—

( a) a specified person or a person who, in relation to a specified person, is a connected person may have done an act or made an omission after the commencement of section 2 that is, or the circumstances of which are, such as to be inconsistent with the proper performance by the specified person of the functions of the office or position by reference to which he or she is such a person or with the maintenance of confidence in such performance by the general public, and the matter is one of significant public importance,

( b) a specified person may have contravened a provision of the Principal Act, or

( c) a specified person may have contravened a provision of the Act of 1997,

the complainant may make a complaint in relation to the matter to the Commission.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an act or omission of a specified person or a person who, in relation to a specified person, is a connected person if it—

( a) relates to a private matter and is unrelated to the functions of the office or position by reference to which the specified person is such a person, or

( b) results from incompetence or inefficiency in the performance of, or from failure to perform, such a function, on the part of the specified person.

(3) A complaint under subsection (1) shall be in writing or in such other form as may be determined by the Minister.

(4) The Commission may request an inquiry officer to carry out a preliminary inquiry into any complaint under subsection (1) falling within paragraph (a) of that subsection unless it considers the complaint to be frivolous or vexatious.

(5) Where the subject matter of a complaint made or referred to the Commission is not, in the opinion of the Commission, of sufficient gravity to warrant investigation by the Commission, the Commission, at its discretion, either, shall not investigate it or shall refer it—

( a) in case it relates to a person who is or, at the time to which the complaint relates, was a member, to such committee of the House concerned as it considers appropriate,

( b) in case it relates to a person who is or, at the time aforesaid, was the holder of a designated directorship or any directorship, or the occupier of a designated position or any position, in a public body, to the head of the body,

( c) in case it relates to a person who is or was at the time aforesaid a special adviser, to the office holder to whom he or she is or was acting as special adviser.

(6) ( a) In subsection (1), “specified person” means a person who—

(i) is or, at the time to which the complaint concerned relates, was an office holder or the holder of the office of Attorney General but not a member,

(ii) is or, at the time aforesaid, was a special adviser or held a designated directorship of, or occupied a designated position, in a public body, or

(iii) holds or occupies or, at the time aforesaid, held or occupied a directorship or a position of employment in a public body.

( b) Without prejudice to the generality of the expression “significant public importance” in subsection (1), a matter shall, if the Commission consider it appropriate to do so having regard to all the circumstances, be deemed by it, for the purposes of that subsection, to be of significant public importance if it relates to a benefit alleged to have been received by a specified person or a person who, in relation to a specified person, is a connected person and, in the opinion of the Commission, the value of the benefit was, is or might have been or be expected to be or to become not less than £10,000.