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Assembly Members approve appointment of New Standards Commissioner

16/03/2016

Sir Roderick Evans QC will be the National Assembly for Wales's new independent Commissioner for Standards, after his appointment was approved by Assembly Members on 16 March.

This independent office was established by the Commissioner for Standards Measure (2009)

The Measure:

-      ensures that the Commissioner is independent of the Assembly and therefore able to act with complete objectivity when investigating complaints against Assembly Members;
-      provides the Commissioner with strong powers, similar to those of a court of law, to investigate complaints rigorously; and
-      makes the Commissioner responsible for promoting high standards of conduct in public life among Assembly Members.

Sir Roderick is a retired High Court Judge and was chosen from a strong field of candidates to take up the role.

He was called to the Bar in 1970, practised in Swansea between 1970-92 and took Silk in 1989.

He was elevated to the judiciary in 1992 before being appointed to the High Court in 2001, retiring in 2013. He is also a Fellow of Aberystwyth, Swansea and Bangor Universities, a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and was welcomed into the Gorsedd of the Bards in 2002.

Sir Roderick will take over from Gerard Elias QC when his contract ends at the end of November this year; he has held the post since its inception in 2010. Speaking at the Assembly last November, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Thomas said that Gerard Elias had made an enormous contribution to the position of the Assembly in acquitting the role with enormous skill. He added that Gerard Elias would be a hard act to follow and that it would be essential that someone of stature and, above all, independence should take on the role.

"Succeeding Gerard Elias QC in the role of Standards Commissioner is a great privilege and challenge, "Sir Roderick said.

"In developing the role of Commissioner Gerard has made a major contribution to Welsh civic democracy and I hope that I shall be a worthy successor."

Gerard Elias said: "I very much welcome the appointment of Sir Roderick to succeed me as Commissioner for Standards in December.

"He will bring the vital ingredients of independence and authority to this role, which is so important in our democratic process."

The selection panel, in line with the formal procedure for appointments made by the Assembly, was made up of the following members:

John Griffiths AM (Chair of Standards of Conduct Committee) – Panel Chair;

Gerard Elias QC – Commissioner for Standards;

Eric Gregory – Independent member;

Claire Clancy – Chief Executive and Clerk for the National Assembly.

As part of the selection process, Sir Roderick attended a public confirmation hearing at the Standards of Conduct Committee (full transcript available here).  Following the meeting, Committee Members agreed to unanimously support the recommendation of the appointment panel and put his name forward for approval by the Assembly.

"First, I would like to pay tribute to the current Commissioner Gerard Elias," said John Griffiths AM.

"He has done a good job in developing what was a brand new post at the time into a beacon of openness and transparency, with real teeth in terms of holding the people's elected representatives to account. We are delighted that, when he stands down later this year, he will be handing on the baton to someone of Sir Roderick's calibre.

"Sir Roderick was chosen from a strong field and offers a wealth of judicial experience that can only serve to further cement the role of Standards Commissioner into the centre of open and transparent democracy in Wales."

Sir Roderick will start in post on 1 December 2016.

 

Sir Roderick Evans

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