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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2019

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Oversight Board, Education (Performance), Human Rights Defenders, Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament, Decision Time, Miscarriage


Contents


Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

The next item of business is a Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee debate on motion S5M-20144, in the name of Bill Kidd, on changes to the code of conduct for members.

16:59  

Bill Kidd (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)

The report and the proposals contained in it to revise the code of conduct for MSPs represent a significant step towards concluding the considerable work that has been undertaken in the Parliament to address sexual harassment and sexist behaviour.

The proposed changes to the code of conduct, as well as the associated changes that will be made to the guidance on the code and to the role of the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland, will implement the recommendations of the joint working group on sexual harassment.

The Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee is of the view that members, as elected representatives, should be held to high standards of conduct under the code. Therefore, the proposed changes make it clear that members must not behave in a manner that involves bullying, harassment—including sexual harassment—or any other inappropriate behaviour. In addition, the proposed changes will ensure that MSPs, parliamentary staff and the staff of MSPs will all have the same opportunity to make a complaint directly to the commissioner for ethical standards.

The proposed changes seek to strengthen the requirements for MSPs to ensure that their staff are fully aware of, understand and abide by the policies, rules, requirements and behavioural standards that apply to the conduct of staff when they are carrying out their duties. In addition, the proposed changes will protect the identity of an individual who is the subject of a complaint about an MSP’s behaviour.

With the cross-party support of the SPPA Committee, I move the motion.

I move,

That the Parliament agrees to amend the Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament by making the revisions set out in Annexe A of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee’s 16th report 2019 (Session 5), Code of Conduct for MSPs - proposed revisions to implement the recommendations contained in the Joint Working Group’s Report on Sexual Harassment and Sexist Behaviour (SP Paper 637) with effect from 7 January 2020.