Deputy Conveners

8. Chapter 12 of Standing Orders contains provisions to allow the Parliament to decide that committees shall have deputy conveners. The allocation of deputy convenerships across the political parties is determined by the Parliament on a motion by the Bureau and, as with committee convenerships, the allocation must have regard to the balance of the political parties in the Parliament. In practice, this means that it is possible that the convener and deputy convener will be drawn from different political parties.

9. A deputy convener can chair a meeting or part of a meeting if the convener is not available or leaves the chair during the meeting (see also paras 63-64). The deputy convener can also carry out the functions of the convener if, at any time other than during a meeting, a convener is unable to act in his or her capacity as a convener.

10. These provisions do not confer on deputy conveners any other rights in relation to the discharge of committee business. For example, there is no requirement for the convener to involve the deputy convener in discussions with clerks or in the process of setting agendas. However, there are a number of examples of situations where conveners have, as a matter of practice, involved the deputy convener in these matters and where this has occurred it has generally been regarded as effective. In particular, it allows the deputy convener to be fully prepared in the event of having to take the chair at short notice or to deal with committee business, in the absence of a convener, between meetings.