Upholding reputations, safeguarding standards, addressing concerns

The Commissioner

The Standards Commissioner is an independent and impartial provider of advice on any matter of principle relating to Assembly Members’ conduct, and is an independent investigator of complaints alleging that Members of the Assembly have breached any Code, Protocol or resolution of the Assembly.

On 13 November 2019, following the resignation of Sir Roderick Evans as Standards Commissioner, Douglas Bain was appointed Acting Standards Commissioner for the National Assembly for Wales.

In that role he has all the powers and duties of the Commissioner and will be progressing all complaints ongoing at the time of his appointment as well as any new complaints received.

Douglas was called to the Scottish Bar in 1974. He served as a Procurator Fiscal Depute specialising in the investigation of serious and complex fraud and corruption.
In 1988 he moved to Northern Ireland where he held a number of senior appointments in the criminal justice field. Following his retirement from the civil service Douglas was the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland from 2006 to 2010. From 2010 to 2013 he was a member of the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland.

He was the first, and to date only, Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards from 2012 to 2017. In that role his main function was to investigate complaints that Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) had broken the provisions of the Members Code of Conduct and to report his findings to the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee on Standards and Privileges. During the same period he was the Appointed Person for the whole of the United Kingdom under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

In 2018, the National Assembly for Wales appointed Douglas Bain as Acting Commissioner to deal with complaints relating to the conduct of Gareth Bennett AM.
Douglas was appointed CBE in 2010 for services to the Northern Ireland Prison Service. He holds the Territorial Decoration with bar. He lives with his wife in County Down.

About the Standards Commissioner

The main duties of the Commissioner are to:

  • receive any complaint that the conduct of an Assembly Member has, at a relevant time, failed to comply with a requirement of a relevant provision;
  • investigate any such complaint in accordance with the laid down procedures;
  • report to the Assembly the outcome of any such investigation; and
  • advise Assembly Members and members of the public about the procedures for making and investigating complaints.

Further to the above, the Commissioner may also give advice to the Assembly on:

  • any matter of general principle relating to relevant provisions or to standards of conduct of Assembly Members generally;
  • procedures for investigating complaints that Assembly Members have failed to comply with the requirements of relevant provisions; or
  • any other matter relating to promoting, encouraging and safeguarding high standards of conduct in the public office of Assembly Member.

National Assembly for Wales Commissioner for Standards Measure 2009