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Wednesday 1 September 1999



Upgrading Of Chamber Facilities

The summer recess presented the opportunity to review and upgrade a number of chamber facilities. The following steps have been taken.


Division Bell

The Annunciator system has been upgraded to allow it to carry a division bell signal when a vote is called. The new system operates on 2 channels. The first will contain the Annunciator which provides a division bell, speaker names and elapsed times, and other information such as the daily business list and announcements. A graphic strap line will also be superimposed on the separate live feed channel which will contain speakers’ names or the business being discussed.

The Chamber Annunciator channel is number 19 and the Committee channel is 8. Arrangements have been made to ensure that all televisions in public areas will broadcast those channels.


Arrangements have been made to place a digital clock on each of the four walls of the chamber. A stopwatch system will be linked to the digital clocks to count up to speech time limits if set.

The clocks have already been installed and the stopwatch system will be delivered by the end of September.


Electronic Voting System

To confirm that votes have been recorded, the "Vote Now" light on the voting consoles will be made to flash until a valid vote has been cast. The light will then remain steady unless a Member chose to recast their vote, when the light will then flash a brief acknowledgement before continuing to show constantly. Work on the upgrade is underway and Members will be notified when the new system goes live.



Five lecterns have been ordered for delivery by mid September. They will be collapsible to ensure that they are more easily transported and less intrusive when not in use on desks.


The Mace

The Mace which was presented to the Parliament by HM the Queen on 1 July will be displayed in the well of the Chamber in the Assembly Hall. It will be housed in a secure case loaned by the National Museums of Scotland until its purpose built display case is delivered and installed.

The Parliamentary Bureau has decided that the Mace should not be carried in and out before and after meetings of the Parliament. The case will be opened in advance and closed at the end of each meeting.


Review of Motions

The Parliamentary Bureau has agreed that the list of motions as printed in the Business Bulletin will be reviewed regularly. In doing so, the Bureau will apply the following criteria—

At least one month has passed since the lodging of the motion;


A motion of a substantially similar nature has already been discussed (or discarded);

The issue in question has been resolved or events have overtaken the original purpose of the motion;

The motion has failed to attract support from at least ten other Members;

The issue has been taken up by a Parliamentary Committee or by the Corporate Body for consideration;

The motion is a statement not intended for debate (such as a congratulatory motion);

The motion was specified for Members’ Business but has not been taken;

The Bureau does not consider the subject matter of a motion to be a priority for debate in the Chamber.


These criteria were adopted by the Bureau at the end of August. A revised list of motions was published in the Bulletin on Monday 30 August. The list of motions will now be reviewed by the Bureau on a monthly basis.



Members will wish to know that the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body met yesterday and agreed to reaffirm that the entire Parliamentary complex should be a smoke-free environment. Members, their staff and Parliamentary staff are therefore reminded that there should be no smoking in our buildings, and the SPCB will be looking to the Business Managers to assist in exhorting all Members to observe the ban. Any Member or their staff found smoking in the Parliamentary complex will be reported to the SPCB, who will consider appropriate action. Parliament staff found smoking will be dealt with under the disciplinary procedures.


The SPCB is aware that many people will find it difficult to stop. Information on advice and support services will therefore be made available and the SPCB will facilitate the provision of smoking cessation group sessions. The SPCB will pay 50% of the costs of these sessions, and the associated costs of providing nicotine patches, in respect of Members’ staff and Parliamentary staff. Members will, however, be expected to pay the entire costs of the sessions and patches themselves.


For those Members or staff who wish to smoke, a list of nearby cafes which permit smoking will be available at the reception in PHQ.


Car Parking

Members will also wish to know that the SPCB discussed options for those Members who require car parking spaces close to the Parliament. Because of the expense involved, it agreed not to pursue the option of leasing car parking spaces for Members in the vicinity of Parliament Headquarters. Members who need to park in Edinburgh on a regular basis are able to claim back the cost under the Allowances Scheme. As from Monday 6 September, a limited number of spaces in the car park under PHQ will be available on a first come first served basis to Members who occasionally require a space, for example because of injury or heavy baggage. These spaces should be booked in advance through the Helpdesk on x85100.


Commemorative Medals for MSPs to celebrate the Opening of the Scottish Parliament


A commemorative medal has been produced by the Royal Mint for each of the first Members of this Scottish Parliament. The medals are gifts from the Parliament to MSPs to commemorate the Opening of the Parliament and as a personal memento of the occasion. These limited edition medals are brass, have a unique design including a thistle, lion rampant, and the words "To commemorate the Opening of the Scottish Parliament 1 July 1999". They are presented in red leather cases.


The medals can be collected by Members in person from Room 4.21 PHQ on Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 September 1999. Any queries, please contact the Presiding Officer’s Office on exts. 85304, 85303, or 85302.


Mental Health (Public Safety and Appeals) (Scotland) Bill


The above Bill was introduced yesterday (see Section G for details). Copies of the Bill are available from the Document Supply Centre.

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