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Is Holyrood’s legislative process fit for purpose?, 02/12/13 [S]

A Holyrood committee is to conduct an inquiry into whether the Scottish Parliament’s legislative process is “fit for purpose”, it has been announced.

The move follows some concerns over the transparency of the amendments stages of bills and the timescale allowed for each stage of a bill’s passage, particularly at stage 3 when late amendments can be made in the chamber.

The Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee (SPPA) inquiry will focus on the rules governing public bills - the most common type of bill - and will include whether the process for making amendments in committee and in the chamber is sufficiently transparent and understandable.

The remit for the SPPA inquiry is:

To examine the general procedures and practice for considering public bills in the Scottish Parliament, whether any changes are required, and if so, what these should be.
The main focus of the inquiry is on public bills introduced under the general rule set out in Chapter 9 of the Standing Orders.

The Committee is seeking views on the following:

  • Does the current three stage process deliver legislative scrutiny that is fit for purpose?
  • How effective are the procedures for each of the main stages, the timescales allowed for these stages, and the time allowed between stages?
  • To what extent does the current legislative process encourage engagement from interested parties?
  • Does the stage 1 procedure, which involves a lead committee considering the general principles behind a bill, provide for adequate scrutiny? 
  • Are there changes which could improve the stage 1 scrutiny of public bills?
  • Are changes needed to the timescales for stage 1 and how they are set?
  • The amendment stages involve line by line consideration of a bill in committee (stage 2) and then in the chamber (stage 3). Are changes needed to the deadlines for lodging amendments?
  • Is the procedure for considering amendments in committee and the chamber sufficiently transparent and understandable?

The deadline for inquiry responses is Friday 21 March 2014.

For full details see the Scottish Parliament website.

Further Information

Is Holyrood’s legislative process fit for purpose?