Liosta Briathrachais



The group of senior Ministers of the Scottish government appointed by the First Minister.

Cabinet Minister

A senior minister appointed to the Cabinet by the First Minister. The current government calls the Senior Ministers Cabinet Secretaries and the junior Ministers, Ministers.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs is responsible for Europe, external affairs, culture and the arts, broadcasting, architecture, built heritage, Historic Scotland and lottery funding, National Records of Scotland, and major events strategy.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning

The Cabinet Secretary for Further and higher education, science and lifelong learning, school education, early years, training and skills, new education agency, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, nurseries and childcare, children's services, children's hearings, social work, Gaelic and Scots.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth is responsible for economy, the Scottish Budget, employment, public service reform, deregulation, local government, public service delivery, and community planning, Registers of Scotland, Scottish Public Pensions Agency, relocation, e-government, budgetary monitoring, business and industry including Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, trade and inward investment, corporate social responsibility, voluntary sector and the social economy, community business and co-operative development, energy, renewables, tourism, building standards, land use planning system.

Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing is responsible for the NHS, health service reform, allied healthcare services, acute and primary services, performance, quality and improvement framework, health promotion, sport, Commonwealth Games, public health, health improvement, pharmaceutical services, food safety and dentistry, community care, older people, mental health, learning disability, carers, Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland, substance misuse, social inclusion, equalities, anti-poverty measures, veterans, and cities strategy.

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment

The Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment is responsible for Scottish Water, procurement, European Structural Funds, Scottish Futures Trust, transport policy and delivery, public transport, road, rail services, air and ferry services, housing, communities and regeneration.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice is responsible for criminal law and procedure, youth justice, criminal justice social work, police, prisons and sentencing policy, legal aid, legal profession, courts and law reform, anti-social behaviour, sectarianism, human rights, fire and rescue services, community safety, civil contingencies, drugs policy and related matters, liquor licensing, vulnerable witnesses, victim support and civil law, charity law, religious and faith organisations.

Cabinet Secretary for Parliament and Government Strategy

The Cabinet Secretary for Parliament and Government Strategy is responsible for Parliamentary affairs and the management of Government business in the Parliament, and developing Government strategy and co-ordinating policy delivery across portfolios.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment

The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment is responsible for agriculture, fisheries and rural development including aquaculture and forestry, environment and natural heritage, land reform, water quality regulation, sustainable development and climate change.

Canongate Buildings

The two buildings within the Parliament complex situated at the foot of the Canongate.

Canongate Wall

The boundary wall which runs down to the foot of the Canongate along the façade of the Canongate buildings.


See Debating Chamber.

Chamber Desk

The section of the Chamber Office that processes, and advises on the processing of, parliamentary questions, motions and amendments to motions, and produces the Written Answers Report. In the House of Commons, parliamentary questions and motions are dealt with by the Table Office.

Chamber Office

The office providing clerking support for meetings of the Parliament; the Parliamentary Bureau; and for various committees.

Chief Executive

See Clerk of the Parliament.

civil servants

Officials of the executive arm of government.

Claim of Right

The declaration of Scotland’s constitutional rights and liberties that the former Parliament of Scotland made following the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 (akin to the English Parliament’s Bill of Rights). The term is also used for the declaration that the Scottish Constitutional Convention issued in 1989 in favour of a Scottish assembly based on popular sovereignty.


A Parliament official who provides procedural and administrative support to the Parliament or to a committee.

Clerk of the Parliament

The senior official of the Parliament’s administration.


A formal arrangement between several of the parties or groupings to combine to form a government.

code of conduct

A code of rules and guidance on standards of conduct by MSPs in carrying out their parliamentary duties.

codification bill

A bill that comprehensively restates and, if necessary, clarifies and simplifies the existing law in a particular area, making it legislation rather than common law.

Commissioner for Children and Young People

An independent commissioner appointed under the Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2003 to promote and safeguard the rights of children and young people.Further information is available on the Commissioner's website (

Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland

An independent commissioner, appointed under the Public Appointments and Public Bodies etc. (Scotland) Act 2003, whose role is to monitor, report and advise on ministerial appointments to public bodies in Scotland. More information is available on the website of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland.


A small group of MSPs formed to deal with particular parliamentary business.

committee bill

A public bill introduced by the convener of a committee.

Committee of the Whole Parliament

The form of meeting when the full Parliament considers Stage 2 of a bill.

Committee Office

The Office that provides clerking support for many of the committees.

committee rooms

Rooms in the Parliament building used for committee meetings and other events.

committee substitute

An MSP who substitutes for any other MSP from their party on a particular committee.

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)

An organisation representing the parliaments of the Commonwealth states, of which the Scottish Parliament is a member.

community law

Those legal rights and obligations arising from European Union treaties and related legislation.

competent matters

Matters within the remit of any particular committee of the Parliament.


For the purposes of the Code of Conduct for MSPs, a complaint is a formal communication by any person about the conduct of an MSP in relation to the Code. Section 9 of the Code provides guidance as to the making of complaints in particular circumstances. Complaints are investigated by the Scottish Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.


A non-binding agreement between the devolved administrations and the UK Government.

confidence of the Parliament

When a motion of no confidence (rule 8.12) is passed, stating that the Scottish Executive no longer enjoys the confidence of the Parliament, all Ministers in the Scottish Administration (including junior Scottish Ministers) are required by the Scotland Act 1998 to resign (section 45(2), section 47(3)(c), section 48(2), Scotland Act 1998). When such a motion directed at a named minister is passed, no such statutory obligation arises, but that minister would be expected to resign. Motions of no confidence must be debated if supported by at least 25 members. The Presiding Officer and deputy Presiding Officer can be removed from office if the Parliament so decides by an absolute majority (rule 3.5)

Consideration Stage

The stage for detailed consideration of a private bill's provisions.

consolidation bill

A bill whose purpose is to restate the law, with or without amendment, based on recommendations of the Scottish Law Commission or of the Commission and its England and Wales counterpart jointly. Such bills are subject to a special form of legislative process (rule 9.18).

consolidation committee

A committee established to consider a consolidation bill.


An electoral area which elects a single MSP using the first-past-the-post system.

constituency member

An MSP elected using the first-past-the-post voting system for a constituency.

consultation document

A document prepared to obtain views from the public and selected organisations on a particular issue.

Consultative Steering Group (CSG)

The group set up by the Secretary of State for Scotland in 1998 to bring together views on the Scottish Parliament and to consider the Parliament’s operational needs and working methods. Its membership included representatives of the main Scottish political parties as well as a wide range of civic groups and interests. Its main report, “Shaping Scotland’s Parliament”, was published in January 1999.

contingent liability

A contingent liability is a potential call on government resources (contingent on particular events happening in the future). The Scottish Ministers have undertaken to present proposals for contingent liabilities in excess of £1m to the Finance Committee, which has the power to either approve the proposal or propose an amendment.


The MSP who convenes and chairs a committee.

Conveners Group (CG)

This Group was formally constituted in January 2003 and consists of the Presiding Officer and the convener of each mandatory and subject committee. In practice, the Group’s convener is one of the Deputy Presiding Officers rather than the Presiding Officer. Broadly speaking, the Group considers and makes recommendations on matters regarding the operation of committees. The Group may also act as a second consultative body to the Parliamentary Bureau on issues regarding Parliamentary business. Chapter 6A of the Standing Orders outlines the role of the Group.

Conveners Liaison Group (CLG)

Former name of the Conveners Group, before it was formally constituted.

Convention rights

Rights and freedoms set out in various articles of the European Convention on Human Rights as defined in section 1 of the Human Rights Act 1998. An Act of the Scottish Parliament is not law if it is incompatible with any of the convention rights.

Corporate Publications Team

The team responsible for dealing with issues of content, style, quality and cost in relation to material published by the Parliament.

Corporate Services

The department that provides the overall financial infrastructure and controls within which the Parliament operates. It incorporates the Finance, Allowances and Procurement Offices.

cross-party group (CPG)

A group made up of MSPs from across the parties and people from outside the Parliament who share an interest in a particular subject or issue.

Crown consent

The formal consent of the Crown to provisions in a bill which impinge on the private interests of the Crown.