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Proposed political watchdog "believes in high moral code"

Proposed political watchdog

Thursday 09 February 2023

Proposed political watchdog "believes in high moral code"

Thursday 09 February 2023


Both Guernsey and Jersey will share a Commissioner for Standards, who investigates alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct by politicians – if States Members agree.

If approved, Northern Ireland-based Dr Melissa McCullough will be the first pan-island commissioner.

She will replace the Commissioner for Standards in Jersey, Paul Kernaghan, whose term of office ends at the end of this month, and become the first person to perform that role in Guernsey.

Dr McCullough’s appointment was overseen by Jersey’s Privileges and Procedures Committee and its equivalent in Guernsey.

PPC Chair Karen Shenton-Stone, who is Constable of St. Martin, said she was delighted to propose Dr McCullough, whom she described as “absolutely amazing”.

Paul_Kernaghan.jpg

Pictured: Jersey's previous Commissioner for Standards, Paul Kernaghan CBE.

“We had an incredibly high calibre of candidate, possibly because it was a pan-island role,” she said.

“Dr McCullough was clear in her interview - there is no golden thread between public and private life and if we are going to stand for public office than we should have integrity, decency and a high moral code. I know she is very hot on that.”

If States Members approve the appointment, Dr McCullough will start her role in Jersey later this month, and in Guernsey in April.

She moved to Northern Ireland from the United States in 1994 and obtained her PhD from Queen’s University Belfast, Faculty of Medicine. 

She also has a Master’s degree in Bioethics and Applied Ethics, a Bachelor of Laws degree and a degree in Biology.

Since 2005, Dr McCullough has worked as an academic in law, ethics and professionalism in the UK and Ireland. 

She served as Non-Executive Director for the Health and Social Care Board in Northern Ireland from 2009 until 2020 and is currently a visiting academic at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and an assessor for undergraduate medical programmes for the Medical Council Ireland.

Dr McCullough is the current Northern Island Assembly Commissioner for Standards. 

As well as investigating complaints, she is also responsible for promoting the highest ethical standards in public life, providing advice and guidance to elected politicians and the Northern Ireland Executive Office, external representation, strategic planning, operational management and leadership of the Office of the Commissioner for Standards.

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