Jacqueline Biesheuvel-Vermeijden was Secretary-General of the House of Representatives from 2004 until 2015. The position of independent integrity adviser is being instigated following recommendations made previously by the working group on the ‘Integrity of Members of the House of Representatives’, chaired by Foort van Oosten, who was an MP at that time. The working group itself was set up partly in response to recommendations made by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), part of the Council of Europe, on the lack of a system of monitoring and enforcement, and the lack of a policy on relations with lobbyists.
In its report, presented to the Presidium in November 2018, the working group made several recommendations. Two of these concerned improving the advice provided to MPs in the interpretation of parliamentary rules on integrity. The Presidium accepted these recommendations and asked Jacqueline Biesheuvel-Vermeijden to take on the position of independent integrity adviser.
In accordance with the recommendations of the working group, MPs can approach the independent adviser for confidential, written advice on the interpretation and application of rules governing integrity. If he or she wishes, the MP concerned is at liberty to make the advice public. Every year, the adviser will compile an anonymised report, which will be sent to the Presidium before being published. In it, the adviser can also make recommendations for improving or clarifying the integrity rules.
Jacqueline Biesheuvel-Vermeijden is being appointed to the position for a six-year term with effect from 1 January and will not be paid for her work.