File note by the Parliamentary Commissioner
Mr Griffiths telephoned me to say that he was going
to see Archie Cameron in the Fees Office to give him information
to sort the matter out in relation to his office rent. He asked
whether he could then come and see me. Mr Griffiths came to see
Mr Griffiths said that he had talked to one of the
members of staff in the Fees Office. Mr Griffiths had provided
him with all the information about the rental arrangements and
the independent valuation. The member of staff had told him that
he was entitled to charge rent and that the rent levels in relation
to the valuation were fine. Mr Griffiths asked me how long it
would take me to deal with this complaint.
I explained the process to Mr Griffiths. I said that
it would depend on a number of things
1. that the letter that he wrote me in response
to these complaints was in sufficient detail to satisfy all the
questions that I might have
2. that the Finance Office provided me with a
letter which confirmed that they were satisfied with the arrangements
and that they have been dealt with satisfactorily. In the majority
of cases, if those were provided by the Member, I would be able
to write to the complainant to say that this was the information
that had been provided and that, unless they had any other information
to give to me, I would not take it any further. But I stressed
it would depend on the facts and I could not decide in advance
of my review.
Mr Griffiths made it clear that he wasn't sure that
the Finance Office would be able to say that it had all been dealt
I advised Mr Griffiths that he should write his letter
to me, putting himself into the shoes of someone who knew nothing
about the affair so that all the matters that had been raised
by the complainants and, if necessary, matters that had been raised
in the press were dealt with. I said this would prevent me having
to ask him further questions and if the matter needed to go to
the Committee, then it would prevent the Committee members needing
to ask me follow-up questions.
I said that if I did not feel that the matter had
been dealt with satisfactorily at any point, or indeed if I thought
that there were other reasons why I should make a report on the
matter to the Committee, I would be doing that, but I would inform
him if that was my view.
To answer his question about timetable, I said that
if I was able to dismiss the matter having completed the preliminary
inquiries, then I would be able to do that quickly and because
of the situation he faced, I would try to do that before Christmas.
However, I said that if I had to make a report to the Committee,
I knew that that would not be done before the New Year and I knew
the Committee would not be able to give it early consideration
because they have a heavy workload. Mr Griffiths referred to the
information I had given him previously, that I was carrying out
17 preliminary inquiries currently and I confirmed that this was
the current situation.
Mr Griffiths thanked me for my help and said he would
let me have his response letter as soon as possible.