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Business Bulletin 1999-2011

Minutes of Proceedings 1999-2011

Journal of Parliamentary Proceedings Sessions 1 & 2

Committees Sessions 1, 2 & 3

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Background

At the start of Session 3, a new regime came into force for the registration of members’ interests.  The statutory framework for this, the Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Act 2006, was developed by the Session 2 Standards Committee and was supported by a edition 3 of the Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament.

Over the course of this session, the Standards Procedures and Public Appointments Committee has considered a number of complaints under the Code and members have lodged several hundred register entries.  In the light of this experience, some questions arose about the new interests framework and the Committee decided to carry out an inquiry. The inquiry looked at the schedule to the 2006 Act, which defines the categories of registrable interest, and at Section 2 of the Code of Conduct (which expands on the schedule and provides further guidance on what interests require to be registered). Although the 2006 Act itself cannot be amended without further legislation, the schedule can be amended by Parliamentary resolution where this is considered “necessary or expedient”.

The Committee, in reviewing the schedule, was guided by the following principles—

  • the register of members’ interests should capture significant financial interests;
  • this should be done in the simplest possible way to make it as straightforward as possible for members to comply with the registration requirements;
  • any changes proposed should be in the public interest and should ensure that transparency and accountability is maintained.

News Release

The news release issued by the Committee in relation to its report sets out some of the background to the Committee's consideration of this review.

Consultation Report

The proposed changes on which the Committee is seeking views are set out in its 4th Report 2010 - Consultation Report on MSPs' Registrable Interests: Proposed Changes to Section 2 of the Code of Conduct.

Consultation

Under the terms of Standing Orders Rule 1.8, the Committee is required to consult all MSPs on any proposed changes to the requirements for the registration of financial interests.  To inform responses, the Committee agreed a consultation paper (98KB Word) setting out the areas where changes are proposed. The consultation closed on 14 September 2010. Responses to the consultation can be viewed below.

Consultation responses

Stuart Allan, Scottish Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

Linda Fabiani MSP

Patrick Harvie MSP

Alasdair Morgan MSP

Post consultation

Following consideration of the responses to the consultation, the Committee reported to the Parliament with final recommendations for changes to the Code of Conduct and the Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Act 2006.

The changes were agreed to by the Parliament in January 2011 and will come into effect for the next Session of the Parliament.


Completed Business of the committee