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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Meeting of the Parliament 31 January 2017

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Bailey Gwynne (Independent Review), Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, Gender Balance (Parliamentary Bureau and Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body), Business Motion, Decision Time, Veterans


Contents


Gender Balance (Parliamentary Bureau and Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body)

The next item of business is consideration of motion S5M-03514, in the name of Clare Adamson, on gender balance on the Parliamentary Bureau and the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body. I call Clare Adamson to move the motion on behalf of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee.

16:59  

Following the Scottish Parliament elections, an all-male Parliamentary Bureau was appointed and an all-male Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body was elected. The Presiding Officer subsequently wrote to the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee to invite it to consider that lack of gender balance, and whether any new rules were required. He commented that the situation reflected poorly on the Parliament, given its strong commitment to equal opportunities.

The committee shares the Presiding Officer’s concerns, so it is proposing some new rules about gender balance on the bureau and the SPCB. First, there would be a new requirement on party leaders to consult one another and to have regard to gender balance before nominating members for the bureau. Secondly, members who intend to nominate someone to the corporate body will need to have regard to gender balance before making a nomination.

The committee believes that the proposed rules will help to promote gender balance on the two bodies, but they are not prescriptive in nature and would not, for example, require a gender balance: the committee does not wish to restrict the right of members to decide who would best represent them. The committee has consulted the corporate body and the bureau, and both are content with the proposed approach.

I am pleased to move,

That the Parliament notes the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee’s 1st Report 2017 (Session 5), Gender balance on the Parliamentary Bureau and SPCB (SP Paper 58), and agrees that the changes to Standing Orders set out in Annexe A of the report be made with effect from 2 February 2017.

The question on the motion will be put at decision time.