|SP Paper 89
Session 1 (2000)
Remit and membership
The remit of the Local Government Committee
is to consider and report on matters relating to local government
Trish Godman (Convener)
Johann Lamont (Deputy Convener)
The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows
- The Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Bill was
introduced in the Parliament on 1 March 2000 by The Minister for
Communities, Ms Wendy Alexander. The Parliamentary Bureau agreed
that the Local Government Committee would be the lead committee
on the Bill.
- Under Rule 9.6 of the Parliaments Standing Orders, it is
for the lead committee to report to the Parliament on the general
principles of the Bill. Other committees within whose remit the
Bill falls report to the lead committee. The reports of the Equal
Opportunities Committee and the Education, Culture and Sport Committee
are attached at Annexe A.
- The provisions of the Bill conferring power to make subordinate
legislation were referred to the Subordinate Legislation Committee
under rule 9.6.2. The Committees report is also attached at
- The Local Government Committee carried out extensive pre-legislative
scrutiny of the draft Bill, taking evidence from a range of organisations.
The Committee reported its findings
on the draft
Bill in its second report 2000. (1)
Given that the pre-legislative scrutiny was extensive and the timescale
agreed by the Parliamentary Bureau for Stage 1 was relatively short,
the Committee decided to concentrate its Stage 1 scrutiny on areas
identified in its pre-legislative scrutiny report which were not
specifically addressed by the Executive, and on Part 4 of the Bill,
which deals with the Repeal of Section 2A of the Local Government
Act 1986. The Equal Opportunities Committee and the Education, Culture
and Sport Committee also took Stage 1 evidence on the latter aspect
of the Bill.
(1) SP Paper 58 Local
Government Committee, Pre-legislative scrutiny of Ethical Standards
in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Bill
- The Local Government Committee took oral evidence at Stage 1 from
Mike Bennett, (Policy Officer for Society of Local Authority Chief
Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE)), Douglas Sinclair, (Member
of the Executive of SOLACE), Ian Drummond, (Chief Legal Adviser,
Glasgow City Council), Bailie Christopher Mason, (Glasgow City Council)
Robert Aldridge, (Director of Scottish Council for Single Homeless),
John Dickie, (Head of Youth Housing Unit, Scottish Council for Single
Homeless), Jamie Rennie, (Project Co-ordinator, Stonewall Youth
Project), Ann Patrizio, (Organiser, Parents Enquiry Scotland), Gordon
Jeyes, (General Secretary of Association of Directors of Education
in Scotland), Bob McKay, (Member of Association of Directors of
Education in Scotland Executive), Mr Frank McAveety, (Deputy Minister
for Local Government).
- In addition to the oral and written evidence received at the draft
stage of the Bill, the Committee received further written evidence
to inform its scrutiny at Stage 1. Full details of the written evidence
collected by all three committees are included at Annexe C and D.
- In June 1999 the First Minister, Donald Dewar, announced the inclusion
of a Local Government Ethical Standards Bill in the first tranche
of the Executives legislative programme. The intention to
widen the applicability of the Bill to include board members of
devolved Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) as well as local
government councillors was announced by Ms Wendy Alexander, Minister
for Communities on 2 July 1999. (2) On
29 October 1999 the Minister for Communities announced that the
Scottish Cabinet had decided that Section 2A of the Local Government
Act 1986 should be repealed, and that an appropriate provision would
be made within the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland)
Bill. A consultation paper (3) was
published at the end of November 1999 and included the full text
of the draft Bill.
vol 1 col 879, 2.7.99
in Public Life Consultation on the draft Ethical Standards Bill
, The Scottish Executive, November 1999
- The Executive announced a consultation process which closed on
14 January 2000. Copies of the responses received by the Executive,
other than those made confidentially, are held by the Parliaments
Adequacy of consultation
- Part of the Committees role at this stage is to consider
whether the Executive has consulted appropriately at the pre-legislative
- The Committee considers thatsubject to the comments made
in the following paragraphthe consultation carried out by
the Executive on the Bill was extensive. Over 6,500 copies of the
consultation paper were issued, and over 2,300 responses were received.
However, the Committee notes that the consultation period was fairly
short, and included the Christmas and New Year holiday period, which
effectively reduced the time available for consultation.
- The emergence of media publicity surrounding the Keep the
Clause campaign against the proposed repeal of section 2A
of the Local Government Act 1986, coincided with the close of the
Executives consultation period. The Scottish School Boards
Association, in evidence to the Education, Culture and Sport Committee,
considered that the Executive had not adequately consulted parents
(ECS, col 715) on this issue, while Ann Allen of the Church of Scotland,
in evidence to the Equal Opportunities Committee, considered that
the Executive had not done enough research to back up the arguments
for repealing the clause. (EO, col 419) Patrick Rolink of Keep
the Clause, in evidence to the same committee, said that he
had yet to meet a parent who was consulted in any way.
(LG, col 522) Stonewall Youth Project, in written evidence to the
Committee, highlighted the lack of direct consultation with
young people on this issue.(4)
(4) Stonewall Youth Project, written submission
to Local Government Committee, reproduced in Annexe C of this report.
- Overall, the Committee notes that some significant changes were
made to the Bill as a result of consultation although there were
a greater number of proposed changes which the Executive decided
not to consider. It is recognised that after consultation there
will inevitably be some points of view which are not taken on board.
Where the Committee feels that the Executive has not taken sufficient
account of the views expressed in consultation, this is mentioned
in relation to the specific area of the Bill.
OVERALL VIEWS ON THE BILL
- The majority of the witnesses who gave evidence broadly welcomed
the intentions of the Bill, though some organisations expressed
reservations about the Bill. COSLA, in its written evidence (5)
to the Committee, indicated that local government had
long been committed to ensuring and maintaining
the highest standards of probity in the conduct of local government,
in particular, and in public life in general
the desire to establish a clear framework and mechanism for dealing
with such matters.
(5) COSLA written evidence,
Annexe D of this report
- COSLA also welcomed
the opportunity to play an active part in helping shape
a modern ethical framework for those in Scottish public life.
- While COSLA expressed the view that the proposals in the Bill
were an improvement on the current situation, it also indicated
(6) that the majority of its members
would prefer to have self-regulation through local standards committees,
rather than the national Standards Commission
It is recognised that individually a number of councils
have accepted the concept of only having a single Standards
Commission for Scotland. The majority view of local government
however is that councils should be empowered, within a regulated,
accountable and transparent framework, to self regulate themselves
with regard to standards, a power available to other elected
representatives such as MSPs, MPs and MEPs.
(6) COSLA written
evidence, Annexe D of this report
- COSLA however adds that
If individual Council Standards Committees were
not required under the Bill, then COSLA and local government would
seek to ensure that local government ownership of the process could
be expressed in the make up and running of the Standards Commission.
- Some organisations expressed deeper reservations about the Bill.
The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers
(SOLACE) in oral evidence to the Committee, (LG, col 630) argued
that one ethical framework should apply across all public bodies
which spend public money, including the Parliament
there is a code of conducta code of basic
standardswhich the public rightfully expect all public bodies
and those who serve on them to follow. Two conclusions follow those
two characteristics. First, SOLACE believes that there should be
a single, overriding Scottish public service code of conduct, reflecting
the core standards of conduct, albeit with supplementary provisions
to reflect differences between organisations. Secondly, if there
is to be a single code, it follows that there should be one standards
commission, dealing with all aspects of conduct, and carrying out
both investigation and adjudication across the whole public sector,
including local government, appointed public bodies and the Parliament
- This is an issue to which the Committee gave lengthy consideration,
and it is considered in more detail later in the report.
- Glasgow City Council, in oral evidence (LG, col 643) to the Committee,
questioned the need for a national Standards Commission which would
be restricted to non-criminaland therefore
less seriousbreaches of the code. Its task would be to crack
small nuts; how big a hammer is required for that job?
- Instead Bailie Christopher Mason argued for a new offence of abuse
of public office combined with self regulation by council
standards committees on the model established by Glasgow City Council.
This would leave a reduced role for the national Standards Commission
an appeals body for local committees; as a body
monitoring the activities of local committees; as a committee of
first instance for the investigation of complaints in those councils
or other public bodies that, for various reasons, are unable to
establish a local standards committee; as a committee of first instance
for complaints that may be passed on to it by local committees because
of the seniority of the subject of the complaint, for example; as
the main provider of training and guidance on the national code;
and as an adviser to Parliament on law reform in this area.
- The Committee welcomes the evidence of Glasgow City Council, and
will consider some of the points raised in the main body of the
Bodies included in the legislation
Other public bodies
- The Committee notes that a number of bodies which were included
in the draft Bill do not appear in Schedule 3 of the Bill as introduced.
The Committee accepts the points made by the Deputy Minister in
relation to Crown appointments, and notes that the Executive intends
to bring forward amendments to the Bill to make appropriate arrangements
for such appointments.
- The Committee also notes the Deputy Ministers explanation
that advisory bodies do not have their own staff and make relatively
minimal use of public funds, that Local Enterprise Companies are
governed by company law, and that other bodies such as area tourist
boards and housing associations are autonomous. It also notes the
Deputy Ministers view that the establishment of the Standards
Commission will allow those bodies to reflect on their existing
guidelines and consider whether to bring them more into line with
those of the Standards Commission. (LG, col 748)
- However, the Committee remains unconvinced that the argument against
including the maximum possible number of public bodies in the legislation
stands up to scrutiny. The Committee believes that all devolved
public bodies, including Local Enterprise Companies, operating in
Scotland and spending public money, should be included within the
provisions of the legislation.
- The Deputy Minister indicated in oral evidence to the Committee
(LG, col 750) that where councillors act as directors of public
bodies, because of their position as councillors, they would be
governed by the legislation. The Committee considers that this position
where, for example in the case of area tourist boards, some members
of the board are answerable under the legislation and other members
are not, is untenable.
'Arms length companies
- The Committee believes that arms length companies
set up by councils, for example recreational trusts and industrial
and provident societies, should be included within the legislation.
Executive and non executive directors of public bodies
- The Committee recognises that the Bill does not impede any body
which wishes its employee members to be covered by the code of conduct.
However the Committee would prefer a mandatory requirement on new
appointments to Executive Director posts in relevant bodies to be
subject to the code.
Inclusion of MSPs
- In its pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Bill, the Committee
considered (7) that
the question of the possible inclusion of MSPs should be explored
further. The Committee appointed a reporter, Dr Sylvia Jackson,
to attend the meeting of the Parliaments Standards Committee
on 22 March 2000, at which evidence was taken from the Deputy Minister
for Local Government and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards,
Elizabeth Filkin. (ST, col 429-452 and 462-474)
Following the report from Dr Jackson, the Committee questioned the
Deputy Minister at length on this issue.
(7) SP Paper 58, Local
Government Committee, Pre-legislative Scrutiny of Ethical Standards
in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Bill, para 18
- Although the Committee considers that, in principle, the Parliament
should operate within the same ethical framework as other public
bodies in Scotland, it recognises that there are practical difficulties
in including MSPs within this legislation.
- Notwithstanding the question of whether members of the Parliament
should be subject to investigation by a Chief Investigating Officer,
and sanction by a body, both appointed by Executive Ministers, there
is also a question of where responsibility for ethical conduct of
MSPs should lie. Section 39 of the Scotland Act includes reference
to provision for preventing or restricting the participation
in proceedings of the Parliament of a member with an interest
and also provides for the prohibition of members from advocating
consideration of any payment or benefit in kind. (8)
Under the terms of the Parliaments Standing Orders, (9)
the question of standards of behaviour for members is
clearly a matter for the Parliaments Standards Committee.
Rule 1.6 provides that The Parliament may, on a motion from
the Standards Committee, lay down a code of conduct for members.
Rule 6.5 sets out the Standards Committees role in considering
and reporting on the adoption, amendment and application of
any code of conduct for members and on whether a members
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 carrying out their
Parliamentary Duties. This matter then, appears to fall clearly
within the remit of the Standards Committee, and it would therefore
not be appropriate for the Local Government Committee to recommend
formally in its report that this legislation be extended to include
Scotland Act 1998, Chapter 46, Section 39
Orders of the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Parliamentary Corporate
- The Committee also acknowledges the practical difficulties and
possible delay in the passage of this Bill which could result if
the Parliament were to seek to include its own members in a Bill
which has not been drafted with this intention in mind.
- For these reasons, the Committee has decided not to pursue this
question further at this time. Nevertheless the Committee welcomes
the Deputy Ministers statement
We believe that the Bill, if it goes through,
should be used as a template and an exemplar of expected good conduct
in public service. However, the structure of the Parliament means
that the Standards Committee is addressing the code of conduct for
members of Parliament.
Discussions about the draft bill are taking place
across the Executive, the Local Government Committee and the Standards
Committee. The purpose of the bill is not to select a particular
level of public service, but to serve as an exemplar for everyone
in public service. I have made it clear to councillors in my constituency
that I have the same expectations of the conduct of MSPs as I have
of that of councillors. I hope that people understand that message.
Some folk have tried to claim that a code of conduct that applies
only to MSPs will differ markedly from a code that will apply to
councillors. That is clearly not the case.
- The Local Government Committee endorses the Deputy Ministers
comments. Although the Committee acknowledges that it is not within
its remit to recommend that this legislation should include MSPs,
it nevertheless feels that the Parliament must consider further
the question of how the behaviour of its members is monitored. It
therefore urges the Parliaments Standards Committee, in the
light of this legislation, to re-examine this issue, and to consider
whether legislation or other arrangements are required.
Operation of the Standards Commission
Consistency of treatment of councillors and members
of public bodies
- In its pre-legislative scrutiny, the Committee argued that greater
consistency is required in the treatment of councillors and members
of public bodies. (10) The Committee
welcomes the extension of the proposed powers of sanction of the
Standards Commission to include members of devolved public bodies
as well as councillors.
Paper 58 Local Government Committee, Pre-legislative scrutiny
of Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Bill, para 5
Rules of Procedure
- The Committee is concerned that the Bill as introduced contains
no rules of procedure under which the Standards Commission will
operate. It is recognised by the Committee that there needs to be
an opportunity to develop best practice, but nevertheless it considers
that a more detailed framework of operation is required. The Committee
also notes the concerns of the Parliaments Subordinate Legislation
Committee on this matter. (SL, cols 144-146) The Committee calls
on the Executive either to bring forward amendments to incorporate
such a framework, or to instigate subordinate legislation for this
- The Committee, in its pre-legislative scrutiny report, argued
for the introduction of a right of appeal. It notes that the Bill
as introduced does not provide for any form of appeals procedure.
It also notes the statement in the Policy Memorandum that a significant
number of consultation respondents expressed concern at the lack
of such a procedure, and welcomes the Executives intention
to bring forward appropriate amendments to introduce a right of
Power of interim suspension
- The Committee expressed some reservations in its pre-legislative
scrutiny report over the use of the power of interim suspension.
(11) It notes the clarification that
interim action would only be necessary in circumstances where an
urgent response to an allegation was of utmost importance, for example
if the allegation was so serious that public confidence in the body
was in risk of being seriously jeopardised. (12)
Nevertheless, the Committee remains concerned that the circumstances
in which the power might be used are vague, and calls on the Executive
to provide clearer examples of cases where it might be appropriate.
The Committee considers that it may be possible to develop a framework
which parallels employment practice, where there may be a greater
degree of clarity about, for example, the circumstances under which
an employee might be suspended.
Paper 58 Local Government Committee, Pre-legislative scrutiny
of Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Bill, para 7
(12) SP Bill 9-PM Policy Memorandum, para
- The Committee questioned the Deputy Minister on the question of
possible loss of Special Responsibility Allowance, (SRA) in the
event that a councillor in receipt of such allowance were to be
suspended. The Committee recognises that SRA is different from a
salary, but acknowledges that for many senior councillors and council
committee conveners SRA represents their main income, and its loss
could have a significant impact on their financial position. At
present there is no provision within the Bill for the loss of SRA
to be reimbursed should a suspended councillor be shown not to have
breached the code of conduct. The Committee welcomes the Deputy
Ministers pledge to reconsider this question and bring forward
a workable scheme of arrangement to deal with such an eventuality.
(LG, col 752) The Committee also notes that some issues relating
to allowances and remuneration of councillors may be addressed in
the forthcoming report of the Renewing Democracy (Kerley) working
Local Democracy working party, under the Chairmanship of Richard
Kerley, with a remit to consider voting systems for local government,
numbers of councillors, remuneration and other issues, and due to
report to the Executive by the end of April 2000.
Range of sanctions
- The Committee suggested in its pre-legislative scrutiny report
that a wider range of sanctionsfor example removal from convenership
or representational officeshould be available. The Committee
notes that no additions to the range of sanctions available to the
Standards Commission have been included in the Bill as introduced.
However, the Committee is still of the view that a wider range of
sanctions may be required and calls on the Executive to consider
whether appropriate amendments can be brought forward during the
Length of time for investigations
- The Committee accepts that the Chief Investigating Officer will
require adequate time to carry out investigations, and it would
not wish to see investigations falling as a result of being timed
out. However, it does believe that there should be a time
limit on investigations. The Committee considers that
- there should normally be a limit of 90 days on investigations;
- where more time is required for an investigation, the approval
of the Standards Commission should be required.
- The Committee notes that no specific changes have been made in
response to earlier concerns over the possibility of malevolent
and unsubstantiable claims of impropriety against councillors and
members of public bodies. The Committee also notes the Deputy Ministers
observations on the robust process of filtering allegations that
will need to be put in place once the Chief Investigating Officer
has been appointed. (14) The Committee
further notes the discretion which the Chief Investigating Officer
will have to decide whether or not to investigate allegations.
(14) Local Government Committee Official
Report, col 754, 28 February 2000
Appropriate form of complaints
- The Committee notes the Executives position that the Chief
Investigating Officer will have the discretion to decide whether
or not to pursue complaints which are not made in writing. However,
the Committee considers that, where possible, complaints should
be made in writing, and that measures should be built into the Chief
Investigating Officers operation to ensure strict confidentiality
during an investigation. Although the Committee accepts an element
of discretion on the part of the Chief Investigating Officer, it
is not convinced that anonymous complaints should be investigated.
Administration arrangements for the Chief Investigating
Officer and the Standards Commission
Appointment of Chief Investigating Officer
- The Committee notes that the Bill has been amended to allow for
the appointment of the Chief Investigating Officer by Scottish Ministers,
and welcomes the addition of Schedule 2, which clarifies the powers
of the Chief Investigating Officer to appoint staff.
Overlap in remits of bodies
- In its Pre-legislative scrutiny report, the Committee expressed
concern over the potential for overlap in the roles of the Standards
Commission, the Accounts Commission and the Commissioner for Local
Administration in Scotland (Local Government Ombudsman), and noted
that the Deputy Minister had recognised that this was an area which
needed to be tightened up. (15) The
Committee notes that this question has not been addressed in the
Bill as introduced. However, while the Committee welcomes the Deputy
Ministers commitment to examine the question of overlap.
(LG, col 759) it considers that a clear and workable definition
of the boundaries of each bodys remit and sphere of operation
in relation to the provisions of the Bill is required.
Paper 58 Local Government Committee, Pre-legislative scrutiny
of Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Bill, para 16
- The Committee notes that no specific changes have been made to
the Bill in response to its previous suggestion that consideration
should be given to removing the power of surcharge. However, the
Committee welcomes the Deputy Ministers statement that he
broadly shares that view (LG, col 755) and is in discussion
with the Accounts Commission and other bodies to determine what
would be as effective if surcharging were abolished. Many of the
witnesses who gave evidence to the Committee considered that the
power of surcharge should be removed. The Committee also notes that
the Local Government Bill (16) currently
being progressed through the UK Parliament includes provision for
the removal of the surcharge power in England and Wales.
(16) Local Government
(Organisations and Standards) Bill
Local standards committees
- The Committee notes that the Local Government Bill (17)
for England and Wales provides for mandatory local standards committees.
The Committee does not believe that local standards committees in
councils should be mandatory in Scotland, but does believe that
local authorities should be strongly encouraged to set up such committees.
Consequently the Committee welcomes the Deputy Ministers statement
that it would be helpful (LG, col 759) if councils were
to set up standards committees, and calls on the Deputy Minister
to consider whether any other encouragement to councils is required.
Government (Organisations and Standards) Bill
European Convention on Human Rights
- The Committee also notes the Executives position that the
only issue which arises from Parts 1 3 of the Bill in relation
to the European Convention on Human Rights is whether, in imposing
sanctions on a councillor or member of a devolved body, the Commission
is determining the civil rights and obligations of that person.
- The Committee further notes that the Executive considers that
the arrangements as set down in the Bill guarantee that the Commissions
activities will not involve the determination of civil rights and
(18) SP Bill 9-PM Policy Memorandum, para 51
Repeal of Section 2A of the Local Government Act 1986
- Since the publication of the Committees pre-legislative
scrutiny report, considerable public and media debate and discussion
on this issue has been generated. During Stage 1 consideration of
the Bill, evidence from many organisations, both in favour of and
opposed to repeal, has been heard by the Parliaments Equal
Opportunities Committee and its Education, Culture and Sport Committee,
as well as by the Local Government Committee. Written evidence was
also submitted by a wide range of religious organisations, teachers
organisations, trades unions and organisations representing young
- The Committee considers that the evidence which focused on the
experiences of young people was particularly compelling. Jamie Rennie
of Stonewall Youth Project, in oral evidence (LG, col 687) to the
Recently, three independent academic surveys
took place in Edinburgh. They showed that 60 per cent of gay people
say that they were bullied at school as a result of their sexualityan
alarming figure, I hope you will agree. Only 6 per cent of schools
have an anti-bullying policy that is either gay-sympathetic or gay-specific.
Of the young people surveyed, 20 per cent confessed to inflicting
serious self-harm or to attempting suicide as a result of bullying.
In a recent survey of 200 young people by our project, 20 per cent
had been homeless at some time as a result of homophobia.
Although section 28 has been viewed by many parents
and others as a safeguard, in our opinion it has assisted in the
destruction of many young gay people's lives. We should be honest
with ourselves when we talk about the Keep the Clause campaignwhen
many parents say, "Keep the clause," they are really saying,
"I would like my child to grow up to be heterosexual."
We believe that choice has little to do with sexuality.
The opinion of the British Medical Association is that sexual orientation
is set before puberty. That brings into question the concept of
promoting homosexuality. It has been said that we may as well try
to promote left-handedness among young people as to promote homosexuality.
Section 28 presents our youth with the message that
young LGBT people are second-class citizens in the eyes of the law,
andif they are gay themselvesthat they are inferior
to their classmates and therefore less deserving of the Scottish
education of which we are all so proud. We feel that the section
has cut two ways into the fabric of our society, alienating some
and prejudicing others.
We hope that the Executive's new wording will remove
the venom from the wound that the section has created. Leaders will
have to make a genuine effort to ensure that the new wording, along
with any guidelines that might be put in place, are not interpreted
as an old section 28 with a new name.
- The Committee also welcomes the evidence (LG, col 708) offered
in respect of young people in schools, by the Association of Directors
of Education in Scotland
Any approach to sex education in schools should be
child centred and age and stage appropriate
We need to bear
in mind children's needs and to listen to their voices. If discrimination
and fear are allowed to predominate, ignorance will be the victor,
which surely is not acceptable
My second difficulty with those who oppose repeal
is their descriptions of public opinion. Of course, any test of
public opinion depends on the question asked. Promotion of sexuality
of any nature in school is not appropriate. All relationships depend
on equality, justice and respect, and Scottish teachers set sexuality
in its appropriate context. Any discussion of lifestyle should be
based on decision making and building the capacity of young people
to make decisions
Moreover, it seems to us that repeal is no
longer the sole issue. It is a signal that we make to civil Scotland
and, more important, to tomorrow's citizens. The future is not what
older people think, but what younger people do. Therefore, the Association
of Directors of Education in Scotland wishes to make a commitment
to resisting prejudice and ignorance. Within that, the proposed
section 26 of the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. Bill, is
helpful and sensible, but we would argue that further detail would
not be appropriate.
- The Committee welcomes the decision by the Executive to set up
a working group to review the range of material dealing with sex
education in Scottish schools. It also welcomes the consultation
process following the publication of draft guidelines and the establishment
of the Working Group (19) to review
curriculum advice and materials used in teaching of sex education
in schools in the light of the proposed repeal of Section 2A.
(19) Working Group established by the Executive
to review curriculum advice and materials used in the teaching of
sex education in Scottish Schools, under the Chairmanship of Mike
McCabe, Director of Education, South Ayrshire Council.
- The Committee also notes the inclusion of Section 26 of the Bill
as introduced, which requires councils to have regard to the value
of stable family life in a childs development, and to the
need to ensure that the content of instruction provided in the performance
of its functions relating to children is appropriate, having regard
to each childs age, understanding and stage of development.
The Committee welcomes the addition of this Section.
- The Committee notes the findings of the Education, Culture and
Sport Committee and the Equal Opportunities Committee, and notes
that both Committees support repeal.
- After consideration of the evidence heard, and of the reports
of the Equal Opportunities Committee and the Education, Culture
and Sport Committee (appended in Annexe A) the Local Government
Committee is convinced of the case that Section 2A of the Local
Government Act is discriminatory and should be repealed. (20)
The Committee also calls on the Executive to adopt a
pro-active approach to promoting the case for repeal.
(20) Keith Harding dissented
- Rule 9.6.3 requires the Committee to report on the Executives
Policy Memorandum. A number of references to the content of the
Policy Memorandum have been made within this report. However, the
Committee is generally content with the explanation of policy within
- The Committee has identified a number of concerns, many of which
it expects to see addressed as the Bill progresses. Overall, (and
subject to the specific dissents recorded within the report), the
Committee agrees to recommend that the Parliament approves the general
principles of the Bill.