The Standards Commission oversees the administration of legislation in four distinct areas:
- The Ethics in Public Office Acts, which set out standards of conduct for public officials, elected and appointed;
- The Electoral Act 1997, which regulates political financing, including political donations and election expenses;
- The Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Activities) (Amendment) Act 2014, which regulates expenditure of public funds to political parties and independents; and
- The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015, which makes transparent lobbying of public officials.
What does the Standards Commission do?
- provides guidance and advice to stakeholders;
- oversees compliance, including receiving statutory returns from individuals and organisations subject to the Acts;
- processes complaints and examines possible wrongdoing under the Acts; and
- undertakes outreach activities to ensure that those with obligations under the Acts (including members of the Oireachtas, election candidates and lobbyists) understand and are able to comply with the Act’s requirements.
The Standards Commission is supported in its work by a Secretariat, led by the Head of Ethics and Lobbying Regulation. Secretariat staff are provided by the Office of the Ombudsman.