Chapter 6: Committees

Rule 6.1 Establishment of committees

1. [deleted]

2. Any member may by motion propose the establishment of a committee.

3. The Parliamentary Bureau may, whether in response to such a proposal or otherwise, by motion propose the establishment, membership, remit and duration of a committee.

4. A committee established by the Parliament to deal with a particular subject, other than a mandatory committee or a committee (including a Committee of the Whole Parliament, a Consolidation Committee, a Statute Law Repeals Committee, a Statute Law Revision Committee or a Private Bill Committee) established only to take certain Stages of a particular Bill, is referred to as a subject committee.

5. In addition, the Parliament shall, on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau, establish the mandatory committees mentioned in Rules 6.4 to 6.11.

5A.The Parliament may, on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau, add any matter (referred to as an “additional matter”) to the remit of a mandatory committee, provided that it is not specified in Rules 6.4 to 6.11 as being the remit or part of the remit of a mandatory committee. An additional matter may be varied or removed by the Parliament on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau.

6.  The Parliamentary Bureau shall by motion propose the establishment of—

(a)  the mandatory committees mentioned in Rules 6.4 and 6.6 within 21 sitting days of a general election; and

(b)  the other mandatory committees within 42 sitting days of a general election.

Rule 6.2 Functions of all committees

1. A committee shall examine such matters within its remit (referred to as “competent matters”) as it may determine appropriate or as may be referred to it by the Parliament or another committee and shall report to the Parliament (or, where the matter has also been referred to another committee as lead committee, to that lead committee) on any such matter.

2. In particular, each committee shall conduct such inquiries into such competent matters as it may consider appropriate or as the Parliament or another committee may require, and may—

(a) consider the policy and administration of the Scottish Administration upon any competent matter;

(b) consider any proposals for legislation which relate to or affect any competent matter, including proposals for primary or secondary legislation, whether before the Scottish Parliament or the United Kingdom Parliament;

(c) consider any European Union legislation or any international conventions or agreements or any drafts which relate to or affect any competent matter;

(d) consider the need for the reform of the law which relates to or affects any competent matter;

(e) initiate Bills on any competent matter; and

(f) consider the financial proposals and financial administration of the Scottish Administration (including variation of taxes, estimates, budgets, audit and performance) which relate to or affect any competent matter.

Rule 6.3 Membership of committees

1. The membership of each committee shall be decided by the Parliament on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau.

2. Each committee other than a Private Bill Committee or a Hybrid Bill Committee shall have at least 5 but not more than 15 members.

3. A member may indicate to the Parliamentary Bureau an interest in serving on a particular committee.

4. In proposing a member to be a committee member, the Parliamentary Bureau shall have regard to the balance of political parties in the Parliament and, where that member has expressed an interest in serving on that committee, to that member’s qualifications and experience as indicated by that member.

5. A committee member shall serve as a member of a committee for the duration of that committee unless—

(a) that member resigns from that office by intimating resignation to the Presiding Officer on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau;

(b) that member is removed from that office by the Parliament on a motion of the committee; 

(ba) in the case of the the committee mentioned in Rule 6.7, that member ceases to be a member of that committee by virtue of Rule 6.7.2; 

(bb) that member is a temporary committee member appointed under Rule12.1A.2(a) and that member ceases to be a member of that committee by virtue of Rule 12.1A.8(c); or

(c) that member ceases to be a member of the Parliament otherwise than by virtue of a dissolution.

Rule 6.3A Committee substitutes

1. A political party represented by 2 or more members of the Parliament may nominate a member of that party to be a substitute (referred to as a “committee substitute”) for the members of that party on a particular committee.

2. A nomination of a committee substitute must be made in writing to the Bureau. Members so nominated become committee substitutes if appointed by the Parliament on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau.

3. A committee substitute cannot be nominated for a Private Bill Committee or a Hybrid Bill Committee.

4. A member cannot be a committee substitute for more than two committees at the same time. A member cannot be a committee substitute for a committee of which that person is a member.

5. A member shall be a committee substitute for the duration of the relevant committee unless—

(a) that member resigns from being a committee substitute by intimating resignation to the Presiding Officer on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau;

(b) that member is removed as a committee substitute by the Parliament on a motion of the committee;

(c) that member ceases to be a member of the Parliament otherwise than by virtue of a dissolution; or

(d) the relevant political party is no longer represented by 2 or more members.

6.3B Bill substitutes

1. The Parliament may, on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau, appoint a member to be a substitute (a “Bill substitute”) for a member of a committee who—

(a) is not a member of a political party entitled to nominate a committee substitute under Rule 6.3A.1; and

(b) is (or is expected to be) prevented by Rule 9.13A from acting as a committee member.

2. The Bureau may not nominate a member to be a Bill substitute if that member’s appointment would alter the balance in the committee between members who (whether as members of political parties or as individuals) are represented in the Scottish Government and those who are not.

3. A member may be a Bill substitute for more than one Bill or committee at the same time.

4. A member shall be a Bill substitute for the duration of the passage of the Bill (which ends when the Bill is passed, falls or is withdrawn) unless one of the events mentioned in Rule 6.3A.5 occurs.

Rule 6.4 Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments

1. There shall be a committee, the remit of which is to consider and report on the following (and any additional matter added under Rule 6.1.5A)—

(a)  the practice and procedures of the Parliament in relation to its business;

(b) 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;

(c) the adoption, amendment and application of any Code of Conduct for members; 

(d)  matters relating to public appointments in Scotland; and

(e) matters relating to the regulation of lobbying.

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.

Rule 6.5 [deleted]

Rule 6.6 Finance

1. There shall be a committee, the remit of which is to consider and report on the following (and any additional matter added under Rule 6.1.5A)—

(a) any report or other document laid before the Parliament by members of the Scottish Government containing proposals for, or budgets of, public revenue or expenditure or proposals for the making of a Scottish rate resolution, taking into account any report or recommendations concerning such documents made to them by any other committee with power to consider such documents or any part of them;

(b) any report made by a committee setting out proposals concerning public revenue or expenditure;

(c) Budget Bills; and

(d) any other matter relating to or affecting the revenue or expenditure of the Scottish Administration or other monies payable into or expenditure payable out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

2. The Committee may also consider and, where it sees fit, report to the Parliament on the timetable for the Stages of Budget Bills and on the handling of financial business.

3. In these Rules, “public expenditure” means expenditure of the Scottish Administration, other expenditure payable out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund and any other expenditure met out of taxes, charges and other public revenue.

Rule 6.7 Public Audit

1. There shall be a committee, the remit of which is to consider and report on the following (and any additional matter added under Rule 6.1.5A)—

(a) any accounts laid before the Parliament;

(b) any report laid before or made to the Parliament by the Auditor General for Scotland; and

(c) any other document laid before the Parliament, or referred to it by the Parliamentary Bureau or by the Auditor General for Scotland, concerning financial control, accounting and auditing in relation to public expenditure.

2. No member of the Scottish Government or junior Scottish Minister may be a member of the Committee and no member who represents a political party which is represented in the Scottish Government may be convener of the Committee.

Rule 6.8 Europe and External Relations

1. There shall be a committee, the remit of which is to consider and report on the following (and any additional matter added under Rule 6.1.5A)—

(a) proposals for European Union legislation;

(b) the implementation of European Communities and European Union legislation;

(c) any European Communities or European Union issue;

(d) the development and implementation of the Scottish Administration’s links with countries and territories outside Scotland, the European Union (and its institutions) and other international organisations; and

(e) co-ordination of the international activities of the Scottish Administration.

2. The Committee may refer matters to the Parliamentary Bureau or other committees where it considers it appropriate to do so.

3. The convener of the Committee shall not be the convener of any other committee whose remit is, in the opinion of the Parliamentary Bureau, relevant to that of the Committee.

4. The Parliamentary Bureau shall normally propose a person to be a member of the Committee only if that person is a member of another committee whose remit is, in the opinion of the Parliamentary Bureau, relevant to that of the Committee.

Rule 6.9 Equalities

1. There shall be a committee, the remit of which is to consider and report on matters relating to equal opportunities and upon the observance of equal opportunities within the Parliament (and any additional matter added under Rule 6.1.5A).

2. In these Rules, “equal opportunities” includes the prevention, elimination or regulation of discrimination between persons on grounds of sex or marital status, on racial grounds or on grounds of disability, age, sexual orientation, language or social origin or of other personal attributes, including beliefs or opinions such as religious beliefs or political opinions.

Rule 6.10 Public Petitions

1. There shall be a committee, the remit of which is to consider public petitions addressed to the Parliament in accordance with these Rules (and any additional matter added under Rule 6.1.5A) and, in particular, to—

(a) decide in a case of dispute whether a petition is admissible;

(b) decide what action should be taken upon an admissible public petition; and

(c) keep under review the operation of the petitions system.

Rule 6.11 Delegated Powers and Law Reform

1. There shall be a committee, the remit of which is to consider and report on the following (and any additional matter added under Rule 6.1.5A)—

(a) any—

(i) subordinate legislation laid before the Parliament or requiring the consent of the Parliament under section 9 of the Public Bodies Act 2011;

(ii) [deleted]

(iii) pension or grants motion as described in Rule 8.11A.1; and, in particular, to determine whether the attention of the Parliament should be drawn to any of the matters mentioned in Rule 10.3.1;

(b) proposed powers to make subordinate legislation in particular Bills or other proposed legislation;

(c) general questions relating to powers to make subordinate legislation;

(d) whether any proposed delegated powers in particular Bills or other legislation should be expressed as a power to make subordinate legislation;

(e) any failure to lay an instrument in accordance with section 28(2), 30(2) or 31 of the 2010 Act; 

(f) proposed changes to the procedure to which subordinate legislation laid before the Parliament is subject;

(g) any Scottish Law Commission Bill as defined in Rule 9.17A.1; 

(h) any draft proposal for a Scottish Law Commission Bill as defined in that Rule; and

(i) any Consolidation Bill as defined in Rule 9.18.1 referred to it in accordance with Rule 9.18.3.

Rule 6.12 Duration of committees

1. Once established, in accordance with Rule 6.1.5 and Rules 6.4 to 6.11, the mandatory committees shall subsist for the whole session of the Parliament.

2. The Parliament shall, on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau, determine the duration of any other committee.

3. The Parliament may decide, on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau, that any other committee be disbanded.

Rule 6.13 Questions regarding competence

1. Any question whether a matter is within the remit of a committee shall be determined by the Parliamentary Bureau. The Parliamentary Bureau shall consult the Conveners Group on any such question.

2. If a matter falls within the remit of more than one committee the Parliament may, on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau, designate one of the committees as the lead committee responsible for that matter. The other committee or committees may report its or their opinion to the lead committee. This is without prejudice to Rule 6.14.

3. The Parliamentary Bureau shall consult the Conveners Group before proposing a motion under paragraph 2. This paragraph shall not apply to a motion by the Parliamentary Bureau under Rule 9.6.1 or under Rule 10.2.2.

Rule 6.14 Joint consideration by committees

1. Where a matter falls within the remit of more than one committee, the committees concerned may, with the agreement of the Parliamentary Bureau, consider that matter jointly. The Parliamentary Bureau shall consult the Conveners Group before giving such agreement.

2. Where a matter is to be considered jointly under paragraph 1, any meeting to consider that matter shall be held jointly by the committees concerned. Such a meeting may be convened by the convener of any of those committees. At such a meeting the convener of any of those committees may take the chair.

3. Any report on the joint consideration of a matter shall be produced jointly by those committees.

4. Any of those committees may establish a sub-committee under Rule 12.5 to consider the matter jointly with a sub-committee of another of those committees.