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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Meeting of the Parliament 12 December 2017

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Urgent Question, Topical Question Time, Year of Young People, Point of Order, Decision Time, Violence Against Women and Commercial Sexual Exploitation


Point of Order

Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands) (LD)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. Earlier this afternoon, in response to my topical question about a recent Audit Scotland report into Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority, specifically on the so-called golden goodbye received by the former SPA chief executive, John Foley, the justice secretary informed the chamber that the SPA former chief executive

“retired under the terms of the SPA’s early retirement scheme, which covers all SPS staff, rather than through any individual settlement agreement.”

However, I understand that the SPA has since confirmed that although £43,470 of Mr Foley’s payment was made under the early retirement scheme, a further £56,666 was, indeed, a discretionary amount paid as the result of an individual agreement. It was the latter that Audit Scotland criticised as being, in substantial part, unnecessary.

In light of that discrepancy, will you advise whether the justice secretary might be invited to clarify his comments on the payments made to the former chief executive of the SPA?

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Thank you very much, Mr McArthur. As the member—and all other members—will know, that does not qualify as a point of order. However, it was a point that the member wished to make and it is now on the record. I am sure that the cabinet secretary will have heard it.

If the member wishes to pursue the issue, he can do so either in writing to the cabinet secretary, or by lodging a written question, as other members would do.

Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (LD)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. It would be helpful if the Presiding Officer could explain why such a statement is not a point of order. [Interruption.] A minister has come before Parliament and made a statement that has now clearly been identified as not being accurate. My colleague is simply asking whether the Presiding Officer would be able to invite the minister, at his earliest convenience, to clarify his comments to the Parliament.

The Presiding Officer

I will explain the position to all members, in case they are unaware of it. These matters are not for me to adjudicate on. If the member wishes to clarify an issue, there are many, many opportunities in the Parliament to do so. He can intervene in a debate; he can put in a written question; he can ask an oral question; he can put the matter in writing to a minister. If, on the other hand, the member wishes to make a complaint, or an allegation—which the member did not do—he would do so under the Scottish ministerial code, not under the code of conduct for members of the Scottish Parliament. I hope that that is clear.