Written evidence submitted by Snedd Cymru


Dear Chris,

Thank you for your letter inviting the Senedd’s Standards of Conduct Committee to respond to your consultation on the Code of Conduct for the Houses of Parliament.

The Standards of Conduct Committee (the Committee) has recently undertaken work in updating and revising our Code, including issuing a public consultation on the draft of a new Code. In the revised Code, the Committee has taken the approach of having the overarching principles, which are given effect through a set of specific rules. We believe this will help give greater clarity for the public about the standards that can be expected of their elected representatives.

In drafting the new Code we have sought to adapt the wording of the “Nolan”  principles to ensure they are applicable and relevant to the roles of Members of the Senedd. As part of our current consultation we are seeking views on our approach to tailoring the wording associated with these principles. Our proposed revised wording is at annex A to this letter.

In considering revising the Code, the Committee observed that the “Nolan” principles have stood the test of time well, and as intended, continue to reflect the aspects of good conduct to be expected in public life. However, the Committee considered that recent events such as the independent inquiry report on the Bullying and Harassment of the House of Commons staff [Dame Laura Cox’s report] and wider movements in society such as #Metoo and Black Lives Matter, indicate that the original principles should be augmented by a further principle that specifically covers standards of conduct in relation to treating everyone equally and with respect.

To address this, we are proposing adding an additional “Respect” principle within the Senedd’s code, as follows:

Respect: Members must always behave in ways that promote equality of opportunity, respect the dignity of other persons and not engage in discriminatory or unwanted behaviour.

We believe that this is an important additional principle as it is key to the way we conduct ourselves as elected representatives.

In drawing together the proposed new Code we considered models from across the United Kingdom and beyond. We also took evidence from a number of key stakeholders. Having produced a draft, we have now issued this for public consultation and will feed in the comments into the version of the Code we put in front of the Senedd for agreement. 

For your information, I have attached a copy of our draft code, our consultation document and the research paper which the Clerks produced on comparative Codes of Conduct. Please let me know if you would like any more information or to discuss further.

Your Sincerely,

Jayne Bryant MS

Croesewir gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg.

We welcome correspondence in Welsh or English.



Code of Conduct on the Standards of Conduct of Members of the Senedd

Part 1 - Introduction and Status of the Code

  1. This Code of Conduct (“Code”) comprises:

Part 1 Introduction and status of the Code

Part 2 Interpretation and Overarching Principles

Part 3 Members’ Standards of Personal Conduct

Part 4 Members’ Duties in relation to Standards Complaints and Investigations

  1. The Code establishes the standards of conduct expected of Members of the Senedd, and is a Code relating to the conduct of Members of the Senedd for the purposes of the National Assembly for Wales Commissioner for Standards Measure 2009.  The Code was adopted by resolution of the Senedd dated [date].


  1. The conduct of Members during plenary sessions of the Senedd and in committees is dealt with by the Llywydd and the chairs of committees through application of the Senedd’s Standing Orders relating to maintaining order during proceedings.


  1. The Senedd Commission may publish from time to time guidance for the assistance of Members and their staffs in complying with the Code, and the Commissioner for Standards may have regard to such guidance in considering any complaint of a failure to comply with the provisions of the Code.


  1. The Code applies to Members holding the public office of a Member of the Senedd at all times, including Members personal and private lives.


Part 2 – Interpretation and Overarching Principles

  1. Members must conduct themselves in accordance with the following principles (referred to in the Code as “the Overarching Principles”):




Members should take decisions solely in the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.


Members must not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties. Members should at all times conduct themselves in a manner which will tend to maintain and strengthen the public's trust and confidence in the integrity of the Senedd and refrain from any action which would bring the Senedd, or its Members generally, into disrepute.


In carrying out their business Members should make decisions on merit.


Members are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions, and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to the public office of Member of the Senedd.


Members must be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only in accordance with statutory requirements, Senedd Standing Orders and rules binding Members of the Senedd and their staff, or when the wider public interest clearly demands.


Members must be truthful, must declare any private interests relating to their public duties and must take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.


Members must always behave in ways that promote equality of opportunity, respect the dignity of other persons and not engage in discriminatory or unwanted behaviour.


Members must promote and support these principles by leadership and example, and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.


  1. The standards of conduct set out in Parts 3 and 4 of this Code are to be interpreted in accordance with the Overarching Principles and a breach of the Code means a breach of any of the standards set out parts 3 and 4 of this Code.





  1. In this Code:


(1)   “bullying” means offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour; or an abuse or misuse of power in a way that intends to undermine, humiliate, criticise unfairly or injure someone;


(2)   “discrimination” includes behaviour that discriminates against any person on grounds of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, political opinion, language preference, family status and whether or not a person has dependants;


(3)   “harassment” means unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for an individual and includes sexual harassment;


(4)   unwanted behaviour” means behaviour which is not encouraged or reciprocated by the recipient, regardless of whether it was meant to cause offence, and whether it is repeated or an isolated incident; and


(5)   “the Measure” means the National Assembly for Wales Commissioner for Standards Measure 2009 (nawm 4).


Part 3 Members’ Standards of Personal Conduct


  1.                                               Members must:


(1)                 Uphold the Overarching Principles.


(2)                 Act truthfully in the conduct of public business.


(3)               Not act or behave in a manner that brings the Senedd or its Members generally, into disrepute.


(4)               Not engage in unwanted behaviour, harassment, bullying, or discrimination.


(5)               Uphold the criminal law.


(6)   Not subject anyone to personal attack -in any communication (whether verbal, in writing or any form of electronic or other medium)- in a manner that would be considered excessive or abusive by a reasonable and impartial person, having regard to the context in which the remarks were made.


(7)               Resolve any conflict that arises between their private interests and the public interest at once, and in favour of the public interest.


(8)               Comply with the Standing Orders of the Senedd relating to the declaration and registration of financial and other interests and membership of societies.


(9)               Comply with the Rules on the Use of Senedd Resources.


(10)           Not misuse payments, allowance or resources made available to them under a determination of  the Independent Remuneration Board of the Senedd.


(11)           Not accept any financial inducement, gift, hospitality or other benefit as an incentive or reward for carrying out their functions as a Member of the Senedd, for influencing proceedings in the Senedd, or which might otherwise appear to a reasonable and impartial person to influence, or potentially influence, their actions as a Member, save to the extent that acceptance is in accordance with provision made in Standing Orders.


(12)           Not use or attempt to use their position as a Member to confer an advantage or preferential treatment for either themselves or any other person, or to avoid disadvantage or create disadvantage for someone else.


(13)           Be open and transparent with other Members, and with officials, in disclosing any activities undertaken in relation to, or undertaken on behalf of, an organisation with which a Member has a financial relationship, including activities which may not be a matter of public record such as informal meetings and functions.


(14)           Not act in a way which improperly interferes, or is intended or is likely to improperly interfere, with the performance by the Senedd or a Senedd committee of its functions, or the performance of their duties by a Member, any Member’s staff or officials and staff or the Senedd Commission.


(15)           Not engage in behaviour that could reasonably be perceived as applying pressure to individuals to:


(i)                 compromise the political impartiality of the Senedd Commission or Civil Service;


(ii)               breach the Senedd Commission Staff Code of Conduct;


(iii)             breach the Civil Service Code;


(iv)             breach the Support Staff Code of Conduct; or


(v)               handle requests for information other than as indicated by the Senedd Code of Practice on Public Access to Information.


(16)           In relation to the disclosure of information:


(i)                 that is confidential or otherwise protectively marked, only disclose it when authorised to do so by the person or authority controlling the information or when disclosure is required or permitted by law;


(ii)               only use information received in confidence in their capacity as a Member of the Senedd and not use, or attempt to use, such information for the purposes of financial or any other personal advantage; and


(iii)             not prevent any person from gaining access to information as permitted by law.


(17)           Not encourage another Member to contravene any of these Standards of Personal Conduct.


(18)           Take reasonable measures to ensure that their staff, when acting on their behalf, also uphold these Standards of Personal Conduct.


Part 4 – Members’ Duties in relation to Standards Complaints and Investigations


  1. This Part of the Code applies to complaints and investigations conducted by the Senedd Commissioner for Standards under the Measure.


  1. Where a Member is:


(1)   the subject of a complaint;


(2)   the person making the complaint;


(3)   a witness in relation to a complaint; or


(4)   has been asked by the Senedd Commissioner for Standards to provide information in relation to a complaint,


they must:


(i)                  co-operate at all times with the Senedd Commissioner for Standards in the conduct of their investigation and any subsequent consideration of the complaint by the Senedd Standards of Conduct Committee;


(ii)                comply with any rules made by the Senedd relating to the consideration of complaints against Members of the Senedd by the Senedd Commissioner for Standards under the Measure;


(iii)              not disclose details in relation to such investigation except when authorised by law to do so, or by the Senedd Commissioner for Standards or other investigatory authority;


(iv)              not lobby a member of the Senedd Standards of Conduct Committee in a manner calculated or intended to improperly influence their consideration of whether a breach of the Code of Conduct has occurred, or in relation to the imposition of a sanction; and


(v)                not seek to influence or encourage, a person making a complaint in an investigation to withdraw or amend their complaint, or any witness or other person participating in a complaint to withdraw or alter their evidence.


  1. Members must not misrepresent any recommendation made by the Committee on Standards of Conduct in relation to any complaint it has considered.


  1. Members must not make frivolous, vexatious or manifestly unfounded complaints to the Senedd Commissioner for Standards.


  1. Members must take reasonable measures to ensure that their staff, acting on their behalf, are familiar with and observe the provisions of this Part of the Code.


17 December 2020