Douglas Bain was appointed as the first Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards in September 2012 following an open competition. His appointment is for a period of five years.
Douglas Bain was called to the Scottish bar in 1973 and prior to moving to Northern Ireland in 1988 worked in Scotland in both the private and public legal sectors latterly as a Procurator Fiscal specialising in the investigation and prosecution of serious fraud and corruption.
Following his move he held a number of senior positions in the Northern Ireland Office before being appointed Chief Electoral Officer in 2006, a post he held until his retirement in 2010. Since then he has held a number of part-time public appointments. Information about his current appointments is available at Registered Interests of the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards.
The functions of the Commissioner are set out in section 17 of the Assembly Members (Independent Financial Review and Standards) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 and may be summarised as follows –
- to investigate complaints about the conduct of MLAs
- to initiate an investigation if he believes that a breach of the Code of Conduct has occurred
- to report to the Committee on Standards and Privileges on the outcome of such investigations
- to give advice on any matter of general principle relating to the conduct of MLAs.
In carrying out his functions the Commissioner must comply with the provisions of the 2011 Act and of Directions to the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards given under section 24 of that Act.