Approach to work this session:
In considering its future work programme the Committee agreed that the following three strategic priorities will guide its future inquiry work over this session. These priorities will be reviewed periodically to ensure they remain relevant and appropriate:
PRIORITY 1: Local Government, the future of local democracy, local services and the financing and fiscal affairs of local government.
PRIORITY 2: The planning system and meeting the needs of communities for housing, place making and other developments.
PRIORITY 3: Power to the people (empowering local communities).
Future work programme
At its Committee meeting on 24 and 31 January, the Committee agreed that, in addition to scrutinising any Bills and secondary legislation, it would proactively undertake scrutiny of the following topics. This list is not exhaustive, and may also be altered in response to changing circumstances (such as responding to urgent but as yet unforeseen issues).
Building Regulations and Fire Safety in Scotland
Following its inquiry into building regulations and fire safety in Scotland undertaken between February 2017 and June 2017 and June 2017 and January 2018 the Committee will seek evidence from the Chair of the working group charged with reviewing enforcement and compliance; and from the Chair of the working group charged with reviewing of fire safety in building standards, once both groups had reported. Both these groups were established by the Scottish Government's Ministerial Work Group on building and fire safety.
The Committee also agreed to consider the final report of Dame Judith Hackett who was asked by the UK Government to conduct an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety with a particular focus on high-rise residential buildings in England and Wales.
The Committee will then agreed to seek evidence from the Minister for Local Government and Housing on the outcomes of the Ministerial Working Group later in the year.
Planning (Scotland) Bill
The Committee has been designated as lead Committee for this Bill (hyperlink) which was introduced into Parliament on 4 December 2017. The Parliament has agreed that stage 1 consideration of the Bill should be completed by 2 June 2018. Information on the Committee's consideration to date can be found at the following link: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/107202.aspx.
Small Business Bonus Scheme
The Committee held a one-off evidence session on 21 February 2018 on the potential remit, status and evaluation measures of SBBS. This evidence will inform the Committee response to the Cabinet Secretary on the Scottish Government’s proposed review.
Following that evidence session and its response to the Scottish Government, the Committee agreed to undertake a wider review of the value for money and future of SBBS and to consider an approach paper for this inquiry, in private, at a future meeting.
Housing Supply and the Joint Housing Delivery Plan for Scotland 2015-2020
The Committee will hold a one-off evidence session before summer 2018 on the Scottish Government's progress in delivering the actions of the joint housing delivery plan, the target of 50,000 affordable homes and the Building Scotland Fund. This evidence session may also include aspects of budgetary aspects of housing and how affordability of housing is currently determined.
Communities and Greenspaces
The Committee will hold a one-off evidence session before summer 2018 to inform itself of the role of green spaces and parks for communities.
Place planning and alcohol licensing
The Committee will hold a one-off evidence session before summer 2018 to explore the role of communities and engagement in alcohol licensing.
Scrutiny of public bodies
The Committee will undertake annual scrutiny of the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman and the Scottish Housing Regulator.
The Committee will also take evidence bi-annually from the Accounts Commission on their financial overview and overview of local government in Scotland.
The Committee will also review its work programme periodically.