The annual report from the Standard in Public Office Commission states that "no progress" has been made on a number of recommendations.

SIPO said in particular there are major outstanding proposals for changes to the Ethics and Electoral Acts, and the report included details of a number of possible contraventions of the Electoral Act, which concerns election expenses and donations.

The Commission processed 127 complaints under the Ethics Acts which initiated four preliminary inquiries.

There were seven preliminary inquiries carried forward from 2020 and of these, two were closed and five proceeded to investigations.

The Commission held two investigation hearings in November of 2021, the subsequent report of which were published in January of 2022.

On the possible contraventions of the Electoral Act, the report referred these to the Director of Public Prosecutions; which in turn proceeded with 30 cases in 2021.

Nine cases remain before the courts.

Changes recommended in the 38-page-report include:

  • that SIPO should be granted the power to appoint an inquiry officer to carry out a preliminary enquiry in the absence of a complaint
  • all former public officials to be accountable, including those not covered by current legislation
  • the introduction of a code of conduct for public servants and those on state boards.

The report stated the Commission welcomed the formal review of ethics legislation which was launched by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath last year, with proposals for legislative reform due later this year.

The report details information regarding operations and compliance with the ethics legislation, complaints and investigations, political donations, State financing of political parties and the registration of third parties and corporate donors.