Remit and membership (12 May 2002 -
26 March 2003)
1. The remit of the Standards Committee is to consider and
(a) whether a member's conduct is in accordance with these
Rules and any Code of Conduct for members, matters relating
to members' interests, and any other matters relating to the
conduct of members in carrying out their Parliamentary duties;
(b) the adoption, amendment and application of any Code of
Conduct for members.
2. Where the Committee considers it appropriate, it may by
motion recommend that a member's rights and privileges be withdrawn
to such extent and for such period as are specified in the motion.
(Standing Orders of the Scottish Parliament, Rule 6.5)
Mr Mike Rumbles (Convener)
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
Mr Kenneth Macintosh
Tricia Marwick (Deputy Convener)
Mrs Kay Ullrich
Committee Clerking Team:
Clerk to the Committee
Senior Assistant Clerk
Emma Berry (to 31 January 2003)
2nd Report 2003
Annual Report of the Standards Committee
for the Parliamentary Year 12 May 2002 to 26 March 2003
The Committee reports to the Parliament
1. Throughout the first Parliamentary Session, the Standards
Committee has striven to establish and maintain the high standards
of conduct associated with the Parliament's elected representatives.
2. To this end, the Standards Committee proposed that there
should be a Standards Commissioner to investigate complaints
against MSPs. The Standards Commissioner would conduct such
investigations independently of the Committee and Parliament.
In addition, the Committee recommended that the Commissioner
should have statutory powers to summon witnesses and to compel
the production of evidence.
3. The passing by the Scottish Parliament of the Scottish Parliamentary
Standards Commissioner Bill on 27 June 2002 was the culmination
of the single biggest piece of work undertaken by the Standards
Committee during this first Session. It marked the successful
conclusion of a journey which began with the Committee's 4th
Report 2000, Models of Investigations of Complaints,
which recommended the creation of a statutory post. The Bill,
introduced as a Committee Bill, was passed by unanimous vote
in the Parliament.
4. The Parliament agreed to appoint Dr Jim Dyer, currently
Director of the Mental Welfare Commission, as Standards Commissioner
with effect from April 2003 following an open recruitment process.
In the interim period, William Spence (previously the Standards
Adviser) is serving as Acting Commissioner until Dr Dyer can
take up his appointment.
5. The Scottish Parliament is increasingly being seen as being
at the cutting edge of developments in standards of public life.
Its work on the Standards Commissioner Act has been examined
closely at Westminster, Cardiff and Belfast. In May 2002, the
Convener was invited to give evidence to the Committee on Standards
in Public Life (the `Wicks Committee') in connection with its
inquiry into standards of conduct at the House of Commons at
the only evidence session to be held outside London. In addition,
the Deputy Convener spoke at an international conference in
Budapest on lobbying in October 2002 to discuss the Committee's
work in this arena.
Inquiries and Reports
6. The Committee published nine reports in its final year.
Two dealt with complaints against Members.
Scottish Parliament and Business Exchange
7. The Committee published a report on the structure and operation
of the Business Exchange following an inquiry in November 2002.
The report found that the hybrid status of The Exchange was
unacceptable and recommended a fundamental review of its structure
and accountability to the Parliament. The Board of The Exchange
is considering all the Committee's recommendations.
Cross-Party Groups (CPGs)
8. The end of the Session was a timely point to review the
operation and rules relating to CPGs. The Committee published
a consultation document on CPGs in summer 2002. Following a
review of the responses, the Committee commissioned independent
research. The Committee hopes that this will help form a revised
and robust framework for CPGs in the Parliament.
9. Other reports have been covered in relevant sections of
10. The Standards Committee is one of only three Parliamentary
Committees to have introduced a Committee Bill. The Scottish
Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Bill was introduced on
4 February 2002. It was only the second Committee Bill to be
passed by the Scottish Parliament in this Session.
11. The Committee has rounded off the Session with the publication
of its draft Bill to replace the existing Scotland Act 1998
(Transitory and Transitional Provisions) (Members' Interests)
Order 1999 (the MIO). Under the MIO, the Scottish Parliament
already has a tough regime in place for dealing with the registration
and declaration of Members' interests. Failure to register or
declare an interest or paid advocacy is a criminal offence unlike
12. The key changes proposed in the draft Bill include the
mandatory registration by MSPs of non-pecuniary interests (such
as membership of professional associations, trade unions and
organisations such as the Freemasons); the declaration of the
market value of shareholdings as opposed to the current `nominal'
value which is the share price at issue; MSPs to be required
to register all gifts worth more than 0.5% of an MSP's salary
(currently £241) received in connection with their Parliamentary
Subordinate Legislation and Petitions
13. The Committee has not dealt with any subordinate legislation
or petitions in this year.
14. The Committee met 13 times from 12 May 2002 to 26 March
2003. Of these meetings, none were entirely in private but nine
were partly in private. Of the 11 items considered in private,
five were to consider either a Committee or an Adviser's report
on complaints against Members (the Committee's decisions on
these complaints were always made in public, however); three
were to consider either legislation for the Scottish Parliamentary
Standards Commissioner Bill or the replacement legislation for
the Member's Interest Order; two were to consider the appointment
of the Parliament's first Standards Commissioner; and one was
to consider a draft Committee Report following an inquiry.
15. All meetings were held in Edinburgh.