Carwyn Jones, First Minister
The Ministerial Code sets out the First Minister’s expectations for standards of Ministerial behaviour and personal conduct - the Code also applies to the First Minister. Until now this has meant that there was no opportunity for independent assessment of significant concerns raised in relation to the First Minster’s adherence to the Ministerial Code apart from the Assembly’s own scrutiny and standards arrangements and the normal electoral process.
I have listened to those who have called for an independent referral process to be available in circumstances where it is felt the First Minister requires a source of external and independent advice.
As such, the Ministerial Code has been amended to allow for such referrals to be made to an Independent Adviser where he deems it necessary. Section 1.4 of the Code now provides that the First Minister may ask an Independent Adviser to provide him with advice on which to base his judgement about any action required in respect of Ministerial conduct and that the Adviser’s findings will be published.
The Code does not prescribe the scope, format or conduct of any inquiry the Adviser may be asked to undertake. It is for the Adviser to determine how to act upon matters referred by the First Minister
Over the coming weeks, a panel of several suitably qualified and experienced Advisers will be appointed to undertake this work individually or collectively.
I have agreed with James Hamilton, a current Independent Adviser to the Scottish Government, to accept an immediate referral from me in relation to allegations made in the last two weeks that I breached the Ministerial Code.