Scottish Parliament review publishes over 70 recommendations

Written by Kate Shannon on 20 June 2017 in News

The Commission for Parliamentary Reform was established in October 2016 to give the parliament’s procedures “an MOT”

An independent review of the Scottish Parliament has published over 70 recommendations aimed at increasing Holyrood’s “effectiveness and efficiency”.

The Commission for Parliamentary Reform was established in October 2016 to give the parliament’s procedures “an MOT”.


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Some of the commission’s recommendations include having smaller and stronger committees led by elected conveners, as well as the creation of a Legislative Standards Body.

Chairman John McCormick said: “Our recommendations are aimed at increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the Scottish Parliament as a single chamber, elected body keeping faith with its founding principles.

“Taken together they reinforce the crucial role of the committees and the chamber in scrutinising legislation and holding government to account and seek to improve the participation of people across the country.

“We recognise that additional powers stretch the existing resources of the parliament but we believe that it would not be justified to recommend a second chamber or an increase in the number of MSPs unless it can be demonstrated that the parliament is currently working at peak efficiency.”

Other recommendations would aim to deliver:

  • More flexibility and spontaneity in the business of the chamber, improving opportunities for participation in debates and increasing ministerial accountability
  • A more efficient parliament, allowing committees and chamber to meet at the same time and making better use of the rhythm of the parliamentary year
  • An enhanced role for individual MSPs to influence, and contribute to, parliamentary business and encouraged to be parliamentarians first
  • A stronger role for the Presiding Officer to direct parliamentary business and ensure more effective scrutiny, accountability and debate
  • A renewed vision for an equal and diverse parliament, with benchmarks for MSP recruitment from under-represented groups, while ensuring diversity issues become a more systematic part of scrutiny

Holyrood’s Presiding Officer, Ken Macintosh MSP, welcomed the report as a “comprehensive and impressive piece of work which marks a coming of age for the Scottish Parliament.

He said: “There are over 70 recommendations in the report which touch on every aspect of how we conduct our business and at their heart are the principles of openness and accountability to the people of Scotland.

“Some of the proposals, such as making more effective use of new technologies, simply reflect the way in which the world has changed over the last 18 years.

“Others, quite rightly, challenge us to think differently and more creatively about how we develop and evolve. All will help to strengthen the Parliament.”

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