Chapter 3: Officers of the Parliament and Other Officers

Rule 3.1 The Presiding Officer and deputy Presiding Officers

1. The Presiding Officer shall—

(a) preside over any meeting of the Parliament except as provided in Rule 2.4 and 2.5 and, except where Rule 11.9 or 11.10 applies, exercise a casting vote in the event of a tie;

(b) convene and chair any meeting of the Parliamentary Bureau and exercise a casting vote in the event of a tie;

(bb) convene and chair any meeting of the Conveners Group;

(c) determine any question as to the interpretation or application of these Rules and give a ruling on any such question; and

(d) represent the Parliament in discussions and exchanges with any parliamentary, governmental, administrative or other body, whether within or outwith the United Kingdom.

2. The Presiding Officer shall have such other functions as may be conferred upon the Presiding Officer by the Act, by the Parliament or by these Rules.

3. In exercising any functions, the Presiding Officer and deputy Presiding Officers shall act impartially, taking account of the interests of all members equally.

4. The Presiding Officer’s functions may be exercised by a deputy Presiding Officer if the office of Presiding Officer is vacant or if the Presiding Officer is for any reason unable to act.

5. The Presiding Officer may authorise a deputy Presiding Officer to exercise any of the Presiding Officer’s functions on the Presiding Officer’s behalf but shall not authorise a deputy Presiding Officer to sit in place of the Presiding Officer as a member of the Parliamentary corporation under section 21(2)(a).

Rule 3.2 Election of the Presiding Officer

1.The Parliament shall, within the period of 14 days beginning immediately after the day of the poll at a general election, elect from among its members a Presiding Officer. The Parliament shall do so before it conducts any other proceedings, except the taking by its members of the oath of allegiance under Rule 1.2. 

2. If the Presiding Officer ceases to hold office before the Parliament is dissolved, the Parliament shall elect another from among its members.

3. In the case of the election of the Presiding Officer under paragraph 1 at the first meeting of the Parliament, the voting period at the election (“the voting period”) shall take place at such time during the first meeting as may be notified in the Business Bulletin or as may be appointed by the person chairing the meeting. Where the election takes place at a subsequent meeting, the date and time for the voting period shall be appointed by the person who chaired the first meeting under Rule 2.4.3(b), 2.4.4 or 2.4.5(b) and notified in the Business Bulletin. 

4. In the case of the election of a Presiding Officer under paragraph 2, the voting period shall take place on the day and at the time appointed by the Parliament on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau. That date shall not be later than 14 days after the date on which the Presiding Officer ceased to hold office. Where the Parliament is in recess when the Presiding Officer ceases to hold office, the voting period shall take place on the date and at the time appointed by a deputy Presiding Officer, which shall be notified in the Business Bulletin. That date shall not be later than 14 days after the final day of that recess period. 

5. For the purposes of paragraph 4, the date on which the Presiding Officer ceased to hold office shall be—

(a) in the case where the Presiding Officer resigns, the date on which the resignation takes effect;

(b) in the case where the Presiding Officer is removed from office by resolution of the Parliament, the date on which the Presiding Officer is so removed; or

(c) in the case where the Presiding Officer ceases to be a member of the Parliament, the date on which a vacancy is to be treated as occurring for the purposes of section 9 (constituency vacancies) or 10 (regional vacancies) in accordance with Rule 1.5.

6. A member may, at any time during the period which is not earlier than 2 hours and not later than 1 hour before the time appointed for the beginning of the voting period, nominate a candidate for appointment as the Presiding Officer by submitting a written nomination to the Clerk. A nomination shall be valid only if it is seconded by another member. 

7. Where there are 2 elected deputy Presiding Officers who represent the same political party, a member representing that party is not eligible for nomination as a candidate for appointment as Presiding Officer. The person chairing the meeting shall reject any such nomination as being invalid.

8. A person nominated as a candidate must take the oath of allegiance or make a solemn affirmation before the beginning of the voting period. If that nominated person has not done so, the person chairing the meeting shall reject that nominated person’s nomination.

9. At the beginning of the voting period, the person chairing the meeting shall announce the name or names of the candidate or candidates validly nominated and an election shall be held in accordance with Rule 11.9.

10. After the person chairing the meeting has declared the result of the election of the Presiding Officer, the elected Presiding Officer shall take the chair.

Rule 3.3 Election of deputy Presiding Officers

1. The Parliament shall, within the period of 14 days beginning immediately after the day of the poll at a general election, elect from among its members 2 deputy Presiding Officers. The Parliament shall do so before it conducts any other proceedings, except the taking by its members of the oath of allegiance under Rule 1.2 and the election of the Presiding Officer under Rule 3.2.1. 

2. If a deputy Presiding Officer ceases to hold office before the Parliament is dissolved, the Parliament shall elect another deputy Presiding Officer from among its members.

3. Where there is a vacancy in the office of Presiding Officer and in the office of a deputy Presiding Officer, the election of the Presiding Officer shall precede the election of the deputy Presiding Officer.

4. Where there are vacancies in the offices of both deputy Presiding Officers, consecutive elections shall be held for the offices.

5. In the case of the election of deputy Presiding Officers under paragraph 1 at the first meeting of the Parliament, the voting period for the election of the first deputy Presiding Officer (“the first voting period”) shall take place at such time during the first meeting as may be appointed by the Presiding Officer, which shall be not earlier than 2 hours after the Presiding Officer informed the Parliament as to when the first voting period is to take place. Where the election under paragraph 1 takes place at a subsequent meeting, the date and time for the first voting period shall be appointed by the person who chaired the first meeting under Rule 2.4.3(b), 2.4.4 or 2.4.5(b) and notified in the Business Bulletin. The voting period for the election of the second deputy Presiding Officer shall take place immediately after the completion of the first voting period. 

6. In any other case where there are vacancies in the offices of both deputy Presiding Officers, the date and time for the first voting period shall be appointed by the Parliament on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau. That date shall not be later than 14 days after the date on which both those offices became vacant. If the Parliament is in recess when both those offices become vacant, the first voting period shall take place on the date and at the time appointed by the Presiding Officer, which shall be notified in the Business Bulletin. That date shall not be later than 14 days after the final day of that recess period. The voting period for the election of the second deputy Presiding Officer shall take place immediately after the completion of the first voting period. 

7. In the case of an election under paragraph 5 or 6, the candidates in the election for the second deputy Presiding Officer shall be the candidates not elected in the election for the first deputy Presiding Officer, except that, where the Presiding Officer and the first deputy Presiding Officer represent the same political party, any candidate representing that party shall not be a candidate for election as the second deputy Presiding Officer.

8. In the case where there is a vacancy in only one of the offices of deputy Presiding Officer, the voting period for the election of the deputy Presiding Officer shall take place on the date and at the time appointed by the Parliament on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau. That date shall not be later than 14 days after the date on which the office became vacant. Where the Parliament is in recess when the office becomes vacant, the voting period shall take place on the date and at the time appointed by the Presiding Officer, which shall be notified in the Business Bulletin. That date shall not be later than 14 days after the final day of that recess period. 

9. In the case of an election under paragraph 8, where the elected Presiding Officer and a deputy Presiding Officer represent the same political party and there is a vacancy in the office of the other deputy Presiding Officer, a member representing that party is not eligible for nomination as a candidate for election as that other deputy Presiding Officer.

10. For the purposes of paragraphs 6 and 8, the date on which the deputy Presiding Officer ceased to hold office shall be—

(a) in the case where the deputy Presiding Officer resigns, the date on which the resignation takes effect;

(b) in the case where the deputy Presiding Officer is removed from office by resolution of the Parliament, the date on which the deputy Presiding Officer is so removed; or

(c) in the case where the deputy Presiding Officer ceases to be a member of the Parliament, the date on which a vacancy is to be treated as occurring for the purposes of section 9 (constituency vacancies) or 10 (regional vacancies) in accordance with Rule 1.5.

10A. The Parliament may decide, at any time subsequent to the election of deputy Presiding Officers under paragraph 1 and on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau, to elect an additional deputy Presiding Officer.

10B. A motion under paragraph 10A may set out the term of office of the proposed additional deputy Presiding Officer.

10C. In the case of the election of an additional deputy Presiding Officer, the voting period for the election of that deputy Presiding Officer shall take place on the date and at the time appointed by the Parliament on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau.

10D. Where-

(a) all the available officers represent the same political party; or

(b) the election of a member representing a particular political party as additional deputy Presiding Officer would result in all the available officers representing the same political party,a member representing that party is not eligible for nomination as a candidate for election as additional deputy Presiding Officer.

10E. Paragraph 2 does not apply to an additional deputy Presiding Officer elected under paragraph 10C.

11. The following paragraphs apply to an election in any of the cases mentioned in paragraphs 5, 6, 8 and 10C. 

12. A member may at any time during the period which is not earlier than 2 hours before and not later than 1 hour before the beginning of the first voting period in the cases mentioned in paragraphs 5 and 6 and the voting period in the cases mentioned in paragraphs 8 and 10C, nominate a candidate for appointment as deputy Presiding Officer by submitting a written nomination to the Clerk. A nomination shall be valid only if it is seconded by another member. 

13. A person nominated as a candidate must take the oath of allegiance or make a solemn affirmation before the time appointed for a voting period. If that nominated person has not done so, the Presiding Officer shall reject that nominated person’s nomination.

14. At the beginning of a voting period, the Presiding Officer shall announce the name or names of the candidate or candidates validly nominated and an election shall be held in accordance with Rule 11.9.

Rule 3.4 Resignation of the Presiding Officer and deputy Presiding Officers

1. The Presiding Officer or a deputy Presiding Officer may resign office by giving notice in writing to the Clerk.

2. The Clerk shall notify the Parliament of any such resignation.

Rule 3.5 Removal of the Presiding Officer and deputy Presiding Officers

1. A member may by motion propose that the Presiding Officer or a deputy Presiding Officer be removed from office. The motion is valid only if it is seconded by another member.

2. The Presiding Officer or deputy Presiding Officer is removed from office if the Parliament so decides. Such a decision shall, if taken by division, require an absolute majority.

Rule 3.5A Available officers all from the same political party

1.Where all the available officers represent the same political party, the Parliament shall no later than 14 days after the date on which this situation first occurs use its powers under Rule 3.3.10A or Rule 3.5 or both to ensure that it is rectified.

2. Paragraph 1 does not apply where the Parliament is dissolved not more than 14 days after the date on which the situation referred to in that paragraph first occurs.

Rule 3.5B Calculation of days 

1. In calculating the relevant period of days for the purposes of Rules 3.2.4, 3.3.6, 3.3.8 and 3.5A.1, no account shall be taken of any time during which the Parliament is in recess for more than 4 days. 

Rule 3.6 Members of the Parliamentary corporation

1. Subject to paragraphs 2 and 3, the members of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (“the Parliamentary corporation”) referred to in section 21(2)(b) shall number four, and shall be appointed by the Presiding Officer, either after an election in accordance with Rule 3.7 or in accordance with Rule 3.8. Those members are referred to as “appointed members”.

2. The number of appointed members of the Parliamentary corporation may be varied after a general election, following a decision of the Parliament on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau, but shall always comprise a minimum of four.

3. Any variation to the number of appointed members shall be made prior to elections held in accordance with Rule 3.7.1. No further variation may be made within the same Parliamentary session.

Rule 3.7 Election of members of the Parliamentary corporation

A1.  Prior to nominations being made for elections held under paragraphs 1 to 4, members intending to make such a nomination must have regard to gender balance in the nominations of individuals for elections for membership of the Parliamentary corporation.

1. Not later than 20 sitting days after a general election, the Parliament shall hold consecutive elections to elect the four appointed members of the Parliamentary corporation (or such other number of appointed members as are to be elected following a decision of the Parliament, under Rule 3.6, to vary the number of appointed members).

2. An election shall also be held to fill any vacancy which arises when an appointed member—

(a) resigns;

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

(c) is removed from office by resolution of the Parliament.

3. In the case of an election under paragraph 1, the voting period for the election of the first appointed member (“the first voting period”) shall take place on such date and at such time as may be appointed by the Presiding Officer. The voting period for the election of the second and other appointed members under paragraph 1 shall take place immediately after the completion of the first voting period.

4. Paragraph 3 shall also apply in any other case where there are vacancies in the offices of more than one appointed member except that, where the Parliament is not dissolved and is not in recess, the date and time for the first voting period shall be appointed by the Parliament on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau.

5. In the case of an election under paragraph 3 or 4, the candidates in the election for the second and other appointed members shall be the candidates not elected in the election for the first appointed member.

6. In the case where there is a vacancy in only one of the offices of an appointed member, the voting period for the election shall take place on the date and at the time appointed by the Parliament on a motion of the Parliamentary Bureau.

7. Any member may, not later than 30 minutes before the beginning of the first voting period in the cases mentioned in paragraphs 3 and 4 and the voting period in the case mentioned in paragraph 6, nominate a candidate for election by submitting a written nomination to the Clerk.

8. A nomination of a candidate shall be valid only if it is seconded by another member.

9. At the beginning of a voting period, the Presiding Officer shall announce the name or names of the candidate or candidates validly nominated and an election shall then be held in accordance with Rule 11.10A.

10. The Presiding Officer shall appoint as a member of the Parliamentary corporation a member elected in accordance with this Rule.

Rule 3.8 Appointment of members of the Parliamentary corporation

1. If any office of an appointed member is not filled in accordance with Rule 3.7, the Presiding Officer may appoint a member to that office and shall do so if the office remains vacant for more than 28 days. In calculating the period of 28 days for this purpose, no account shall be taken of any time when the Parliament is dissolved.

1A.  In making an appointment under paragraph 1, the Presiding Officer must have regard to gender balance in the membership of the Parliamentary corporation.

2. The Presiding Officer shall notify the Parliament of any appointment under paragraph 1.

Rule 3.9 Resignation of members of the Parliamentary corporation

1. An appointed member may at any time resign office by giving notice in writing to the Presiding Officer.

2. The Presiding Officer shall notify the Parliament of the resignation.

Rule 3.10 Removal of members of the Parliamentary corporation

1. A member may by motion propose that an appointed member be removed from office. The motion is valid only if it is seconded by another member.

2. An appointed member is removed from office as a member of the Parliamentary
corporation if the Parliament so decides on such a motion.

Rule 3.11 Nomination of individuals for appointment by Her Majesty

1. The provisions of this Rule apply where an enactment confers, or a provision of a Bill that has completed Stage 1 would confer, power on the Parliament to nominate an individual for appointment by Her Majesty (except where these Rules make separate provision for the procedure that is to be followed by the Parliament in making such a nomination).

2. Where such a post is, or is expected to become, vacant, a panel (referred to as the “Selection Panel”) shall be established for the purpose of recommending a person for nomination by the Parliament to Her Majesty for the appointment in question.

3. Where the subject matter of the relevant enactment or provision falls within the remit of a committee, the members of the Selection Panel shall be—

(a) the Presiding Officer;

(b) the convener of that committee, or, in a case where the subject matter of the relevant enactment or provision falls within the remit of more than one committee, the convener of the committee that is determined for this purpose by the Parliamentary Bureau;

(c) at least 4 but not more than 7 other members appointed by the Presiding Officer.

4. Where the subject matter of the relevant enactment or provision does not fall within the remit of any committee, the members of the Selection Panel shall be—

(a) the Presiding Officer;

(b) a convener of a committee appointed by the Parliamentary Bureau;

(c) at least 4 but not more than 7 other members appointed by the Presiding Officer.

5. In appointing members of the Selection Panel, the Presiding Officer shall have regard to the balance of political parties in the Parliament.

6. [deleted]

7. Any member of the Selection Panel may by motion propose that the Parliament nominates the person recommended by the Selection Panel.

8. Any debate on such a motion shall be restricted to 30 minutes. Each speaker
may speak for no more than 5 minutes.

9. If there is a division on such a motion, the result is valid only if the number of members who voted is more than one quarter of the total number of seats for members. In calculating the number of members who have voted for this purpose, account shall be taken not only of those voting for or against the motion but also of those voting to abstain.

Rule 3.11A Nomination of individuals for reappointment by Her Majesty

1. This Rule applies where a person has been appointed by Her Majesty further to a nomination by the Parliament in accordance with Rule 3.11 and is eligible for reappointment under the relevant enactment.

2. Where the Parliamentary corporation decides to recommend that person for nomination for reappointment, any member of the Parliamentary corporation may by motion propose that the Parliament nominate that person for reappointment by Her Majesty.

3. Rules 3.11.8 and 9 shall apply to a motion proposing reappointment as they apply to a motion proposing appointment.

Rule 3.12 [deleted]

Rule 3.13 Appointment of members of the Scottish Commission for Public Audit

1. The four members of the Scottish Commission for Public Audit (“the Commission”) referred to in section 12(2)(b) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 (asp 1) shall be appointed by the Parliamentary corporation.

2. The Parliamentary corporation shall not make any appointment under this Rule without the agreement of the Parliament.

3. A member of the Parliamentary corporation shall by motion seek the agreement of the Parliament to the Parliamentary corporation’s proposal to appoint either—

(a) an individual member to be a member of the Commission; or

(b) a group of 2 or more members to be members of the Commission.

4. In making a proposal under this Rule the Parliamentary corporation shall have regard to the balance of political parties in the Parliament.

5. Before the Presiding Officer puts to the Parliament the question on a motion relating to a group of members, the motion may be amended but only to delete that part of the motion relating to a particular member or members.

Rule 3.14 Resignation of members of the Commission

1. An appointed member may at any time resign office by giving notice in writing to the Parliamentary corporation.

2. The Parliamentary corporation shall notify the Parliament of the resignation.

Rule 3.15 Removal of members of the Commission

1. Any member may by motion propose that an appointed member of the Commission be removed from office. The motion is valid only if it is seconded by another member.

2. An appointed member of the Commission is removed from office as a member of the Commission if the Parliament so decides on such a motion.

Rule 3.16 Reports of the Commission

1. Where the Commission is to report to the Parliament under section 11(9) or 12(4) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000, it shall do so by lodging the report with the Clerk. The Clerk shall publish the report and notify members of the date of publication.