About Public Bodies Act Consent Memorandums

The Public Bodies Act 2011, which received Royal Assent on 14 December 2011, was subject to a legislative consent motion in the Scottish Parliament in March 2012 (Public Bodies Bill [HL]). This Act includes order-making powers designed to enable UK Ministers to take forward the proposals announced on 14 October 2010 for the reform of a substantial number of public bodies for which the UK Government is responsible. Section 9 of the Act includes a requirement for the Scottish Parliament’s consent to be sought for any provisions in an order made under Sections 1 to 5 of the Act which would fall within the Scottish Parliament’s legislative competence.

A formal procedure for the Scottish Parliament to give consent to these orders was considered by the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee.  The procedure for scrutiny of Public Bodies Act Consent memorandums, now the formal name, is set out in Chapter 9BA of the Parliament’s standing orders and came into force on 21 November 2012.

Prior to this date these orders were referred to as Public Body Consent memorandums and interim arrangements were in place, which were agreed by the Parliamentary Bureau on 20 December 2011.  The interim arrangements, for the secondary legislation (orders), broadly mirrored the procedure currently used for the Parliament to consent to UK primary legislation: the Legislative Consent Memorandum procedure.

The interim arrangements required a change to the remit of the Subordinate Legislation Committee, to allow it to scrutinise Public Body Consent Memorandums. The Parliamentary Bureau lodged a motion (S4M-01900) to implement this change, and it was agreed by the Parliament on 2 February 2012.  The change was initially to last until 29 June 2012, but this was extended to 21 December 2012 by means of a further Bureau motion (S4M-03392), agreed to by the Parliament on 20 June 2012: