Assembly Member Responsibilities
All Assembly Members (AMs) must adhere to the following standards:
- Derive no income external to their AM salary for the entire duration of their membership.
- Make complete statements of all their income, available for public scrutiny: for the two years prior to their candidacy, filed within 10 days of declaring their candidacy; and for five years after they cease to be an AM.
- Attend all Assembly sessions. Failure to attend three sessions consecutively will result in the AM’s vote count being removed from the quorum (see Assembly Sessions below).
- Conviction for a criminal act while in office will result in immediate termination of Membership, and be barred from standing for re-election for 20 years after completing their sentence.
- Must remain a resident of their constituency while in office.
Each Assembly Member shall receive an annual salary, paid monthly, equivalent to five times the Median Income of their constituents.
The Median Income of each constituency to be published by the State tax authorities, before October 1st, for the previous tax year, and which forms the basis of the AM salary calculation for the following tax year.
AM Support Services
Assembly Members will require administrative support, and at a minimum each AM should have provided for them:
- A private office.
- A private secretary with their own, adjacent office.
- Such services and facilities as are necessary to allow the AM to research and compile reports.
AM Residence facilities
Assemblies for Regions and the State should provide residential facilities at no charge for their AMs, equivalent to the social housing standards adopted by the Assembly for their Shelter WellFair service.
Assemblies shall meet at the discretion of members providing that:
- Not more than 30 days shall pass between sessions.
- Sessions have been held on at least 30 days in the previous 100 days.
- Qualifying sessions must last a minimum of 2 hours, and have a quorum present for the duration.
- Failure to meet the requirements for holding sessions automatically triggers an election.
- Assembly sessions must be subject to public scrutiny, and make provisions to allow for public observation of their proceedings.
- Assemblies must keep a permanent record of the proceedings and voting.
- Voting in Assembly: Each AM will vote in matters before the Assembly with the weight of their vote count at the last election, including both 1st choice and reallocated 2nd choice votes. Representatives may not allocate or split their vote count weight.
- A quorum is reached when the Assembly has Members present who have a combined vote count of 75% of the total votes cast at the last election, less the vote count of any representative(s) who are absent for a third consecutive Assembly session, but never less than 50% of the votes cast at the last election. (Assemblies may recognise “presence” of AMs via virtual digital connections at their discretion.)
In the event that the currently eligible Assembly Membership represents less than 51% of the votes cast at the last election, a new election is immediately triggered.
Due to the more pluralistic and less party-based nature of Assemblies elected using Proper Elections, the organisation of the interface between the Civil Service and government needs to be adjusted. Assemblies will be a single body with the same sovereignty and responsibility as we have traditionally attributed to Parliament in Westminster: ultimately all of the members of the Assembly are responsible for the performance of government to their constituents.
The Assembly Members are ultimately accountable to their constituents through the ballot box. To be held accountable for their policies, it is vital that the Assembly is able to hold the Civil Service accountable for their performance regarding the prosecution of the Assembly’s policies. To make this a reality the Assembly must be able to appoint and dismiss the primary manager (Council Secretary) responsible for implementation of Assembly policy by the Civil Service function. Such appointments and dismissals are only concerning the person’s role as the primary civil servant responsible to the Assembly for the implementation of policy, not their status as employees of the Civil Service.
The Civil Service in each constituency shall have it’s own Chief Executive, responsible for the performance and management of all Civil Servants, and the reform and development of the Service. The Chief Executive will be hired and retained at the discretion of a Management Board, which will consist of 3 Directors appointed by the Civil Service, 2 by the Assembly, and 2 elected by the rank and file of the Civil Service. Directors will serve for terms of 4 years, may be re-elected, may not AMs and will receive compensation only in proportion to time spent in or preparing for Board meetings (if they are employed by the Civil Service they will receive no additional compensation, if not they will all receive an equal hourly rate equivalent to the hourly rate for AMs). Chief Executives should report formally to their Boards not less frequently than quarterly. Boards may concern themselves will all matters concerning the performance and management of the Civil Service, but not to the efficacy or implementation of Assembly policy.
Small Assemblies will likely maintain oversight of civil service functions as a single body, with all Council Secretaries reporting directly to a full Assembly session. Assemblies with more than 7 Assembly Members will likely want to distribute oversight of civil service departments to self-selecting groups of AMs, which will be called Councils.
Councils should be open to any AM that wishes to join, preferably with a 2 year commitment. Councils should elect a Chair from their membership.
Councils will require their own administrative staff.
Each Council will have a Council Secretary, the primary Civil Service manager responsible for implementation of Assembly policy. Council Secretaries are proposed by the Chief Executive, and subject to approval by the Assembly for Prime Councils, and by Council’s members for Special Councils. Where appropriate the Chief Executive should also appoint a Deputy Council Secretary who can step in in the event of the dismissal of a Council Secretary, and until such time a new Council Secretary is appointed.
Council Secretaries to report formally to their Council on their progress not less frequently than quarterly, but otherwise at the discretion of the Council.
All Assemblies will have Prime Councils, albeit that in smaller Assemblies these consist of the entire Assembly membership. There should be a upper limit of 21 Assembly Members per Prime Council.
The Prime Councils are:
- Society: all WellFair services and other social services, constitutional and democratic matters
- Economy: innovation, trade, industry, finance, energy and all economic matters excluding taxation
- Environment: agriculture, fisheries, conservancy, water
- Treasury: Assembly budgets and taxation
- External: liaison with Assemblies in containing layers (Regions, UK State and Europe)
- Internal: liaison with Assemblies in containing layers (not needed in Community Assemblies; in Regions to liaise with Communities; at State to liaise with Regions)
Any Assembly may choose to convene additional Councils related to more specific matters or departments, these are Special Councils.
3 replies on “Accountability”
MPs spent on £150,000 each on average, mostly on office and staff costs.http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/sep/12/mps-expenses-rise-record-highLIFE will replace 650 MPs at Westminster with 65 MPs in 2020. That will save 80% of the expenses bill even if we double the office expenses charge for each remaining MP.
Barry Quirk, leader of Lewisham Council, has 30 years experience in local government.http://www.barryquirk.com/coreideas/
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