Complaints in relation to social media usage of States Members (FOI)
Complaints in relation to social media usage of States Members (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 28 November 2018.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
With reference to Report - R.139/2018 - In which the Commissioner for Standards Mr Paul Kernaghan, C.B.E., Q.P.M. said he did not want to get involved in Social Media disputes between members of the Public and States Members.
I would like to know the following -
Since Mr Paul Kernaghan, C.B.E., Q.P.M. appointment, why has the States of Jersey Greffe / PPC not made it clear to complainants that Social Media disputes will not be taken seriously? This despite PPC dealing with numerous complaints of a similar nature in the past.
Where it states in the Commissioner for Standards Code of Practice that the Online Behaviour of States Members is exempt from complaint?
Finally how much Tax Payers Money has Mr Paul Kernaghan, C.B.E., Q.P.M. been paid for his work in his first year of appointment, and what feedback, if any, has the States of Jersey Greffe / PPC received from Complainants with regard to Mr Paul Kernaghan, C.B.E., Q.P.M. work so far?
A and B
It should be noted that the Commissioner for Standards (Commissioner) is independent of both the States Assembly and its administration in the exercise of his functions. For further information on his role and responsibilities please refer to the Commissioner for Standards (Jersey) Law 2017.
The Commissioner issued a statement regarding complaints in relation to the use of social media by States members in his Annual Report for 2017-2018 in the following terms:
‘I do not see it as my role to adjudicate on ‘Twitter spats’ between participants on social media, in the absence of aggravating factors. Thus, I have dismissed several such complaints as I have judged them to be frivolous or vexatious. I have reserved the right to investigate such complaints, if the alleged misconduct by a Member involved foul language or evidence of malicious intent, for example’.
A full copy of the Commissioner for Standards: Annual Report 2017-2018 is available at the following link:
Commissioner for Standards: Annual Report 2017-2018
In addition, the Commissioner has published a guidance statement on how complaints will be handled which is available at the following link:
Commissioner for Standards' statement
During the first year of his appointment the Commissioner for Standards has been paid:
Total fees: £9,712.60
Feedback from one complainant has been received so far on the work of the Commissioner. The complainant was unhappy regarding the Commissioner’s report in relation to the complainant’s grievance and requested that the report be removed from the States Assembly website. The request was refused on the basis of parliamentary privilege. The request was later referred to the newly constituted Privileges and Procedures Committee who considered the matter and decided that it was not minded to revisit the decision of the previously constituted Committee.
In addition, the Commissioner has met with the Privileges and Procedures Committee and has held a briefing for States members to discuss his work and to receive feedback from members.