Denby woman appointed watchdog for MPs’ conduct

Kathryn Stone is to be the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. (Photo: Angela Easterling)
Kathryn Stone is to be the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. (Photo: Angela Easterling)

A Denby woman has been appointed to a powerful role at the House of Commons, tasked with regulating MPs’ conduct and propriety.

Kathryn Stone is to become the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards after the House of Commons formally approved her appointment on Thursday, July 20.

Currently the chief legal ombudsman of England and Wales, Kathryn will take up the new post as of January 1, 2018.

She said: “I have very much enjoyed my work with the legal ombudsman with our staff and service providers and I am looking forward to my new role.”

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is an independent officer of the House of Commons, appointed to serve a five year term.

Kathryn’s job will be to oversee the Register of Members’ Financial Interests and the Code of Conduct for MPs.

She will also advise the Committee on Standards about issues relating to the Code of Conduct, and provide confidential advice to individual MPs.

In cases where MPs are alleged to be in breach of the rules, she will be tasked with investigating claims and reporting back to the committee.

The commissioner cannot decide whether an MP has broken the law nor whether they have breached the rules of another organisation, such as the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

Born in Derby and raised in Belper, Kathryn has spent all 40 years of her career in public service.

She started out as a houseparent for children with special needs, then became a qualified child protection social worker and mental health practitioner.

That led her into regulatory roles as a care services inspector, followed by 11 years as chief executive of the national charity Voice UK, representing the rights of people with learning disabilities who had been victims of abuse and crime.

In 2007, she was awarded an OBE for services to people with learning disabilities.

Kathryn was appointed to the challenging role as Commissioner for the Victims and Survivors in Northern Ireland in 2012, where she was gave a voice to victims of the Troubles, and oversaw the transformation of services for their support.

Returning to England, she worked for the Independent Police Complaints Commission, with responsibility for seven police forces in the Midlands and North before taking up her current role.

She was recruited following a process which began with 81 candidates, and will be the sixth commissioner since the post was created in 1995

Notable investigations undertaken by previous commissioners include the ‘cash for questions’ affair, in which MPs were bribed by representatives of then Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed.