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Bills and Laws

Post-legislative scrutiny

"Post-legislative scrutiny" (PLS) is a term for an inquiry which looks back at an act of the Scottish Parliament, or part of an act, to see if it is working as planned. The inquiry is usually carried out by a committee.

Sometimes a committee will look at more than one act at once, although this is rare. A committee might also look at the secondary legislation that is part of the act to check that it’s working properly. 

Post-legislative scrutiny has been conducted by various committees in previous sessions. In session 6, the Conveners Group agreed that a greater encouragement of PLS should be a strategic priority.

Examples of post-legislative scrutiny in the Scottish Parliament

A list of some examples of post-legislative scrutiny in the Scottish Parliament:

Session 6

  • The Social Justice and Social Security Committee has begun an inquiry to consider the impact of the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017. The Act:
    • sets the Scottish Government targets to reduce the number of children experiencing the effects of poverty by 2030
    • requires Scottish Ministers and public bodies to create delivery plans and reports to help reach those targets

    The Committee will examine the impact of the Act since it came into effect.

Session 5

  • PLS review of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 by the Justice Committee led to major changes in the governance by the Scottish Police Authority.  A further independent review by Dame Elish Angiolini led to a commitment from the Scottish Government to bring forward legislation to change the police-complaints system. 
  • the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee conducted a PLS inquiry into the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010. Because of this, some changes were introduced through secondary legislation. The government also agreed to review the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and how it works in Scotland.

Session 4

Session 3

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