Alcohol-services care home enters history books


An alcohol-services care home for men in Falkirk will enter the history books today with a Bill introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

The William Simpson’s Home (Transfer of Property etc.) (Scotland) Bill will allow the 150-year-old William Simpson’s Home for men with alcohol-related mental health problems to offer services to women and the under-40s.

Established in Plean near Falkirk as the William Simpson’s asylum for indigent men of advanced age, the care home was intended for older men with strong links to ex-Navy and Army personnel. The Home would now like to respond to increased demand on its services from women and younger people as well as constructing a purpose-built centre for residential clients.

As the Home was established by an Act of Parliament in 1864 it requires another Act to revise it. The William Simpson’s Home Bill will be introduced as a Private Bill. This necessitates a promoter, in this case, the Trustees of the William Simpson’s Home.

This is the second Private Bill from a charitable institution to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament. Both the Ure Elder Fund for Indigent Widow Ladies, which was introduced in October 2009, and the William Simpson’s Home were established by Acts of Parliament that require any changes to the charities to be carried out by another Act of Parliament. 

A report on The Ure Elder Transfer and Dissolution Bill will be published today at 2pm. 


Francis Simpson of Plean gifted his estate to Trustees in 1829 to establish an asylum in memory of his son William, who was lost at sea. William served in the Royal Navy in the early 1800s and became acutely aware of the needs of ex-servicemen who returned from conflict, yet had no home. The Home still maintains a strong link with ex-service personnel.

There are five types of Bill:

  • Executive
  • Committee
  • Private
  • Member’s
  • Hybrid

A Private Bill is introduced by a promoter, who may be a person, a company or a group of people, for the purpose of obtaining particular powers or benefits that are in addition to, or in conflict with, the general law.

Private Bills generally relate to development projects, the use of land, or the property or status of the promoter. For example, the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine Railway and Linked Improvements Bill granted powers to Clackmannanshire Council required for the reconstruction of the railway between Stirling and Kincardine.

Private Bills are different to Public Bills as they involve measures in the private interests of the promoter, which others may object to. The role of the Parliament is to consider the Bill and arbitrate between the promoter and objectors. 

What happens now?

Private Bills are subject to a three-stage parliamentary process.

The preliminary stage: The Bill is published, kicking off a 60-day objection period. This allows anyone who thinks their interests will be adversely affected to lodge an objection. Objections must be lodged with the clerks at the Scottish Parliament and accompanied by a fee of £20.

At the end of the 60-day period a committee of MSPs, whose role is to act neutrally between Bill promoters and objectors, will then look at all objections. If the committee is satisfied that an objection is not based on a reasonable claim that the objector’s interests would be adversely affected, it is rejected.

The committee also examines the general principles of the Bill and reports its findings to the Scottish Parliament.

The Parliament then debates the report of the committee and decides whether to agree to let the Bill proceed to the next stage. Any non-relevant objections will be knocked out. The committee then reports to the Scottish Parliament on whether there is a need for the Bill and whether that need has been established by the promoters of the Bill.

The consideration stage: The Committee considers the detail of the Bill and looks at each objection and makes a decision on each. It will report to Parliament on its decisions. Then, as with any Stage 2 of a Public Bill, amendments can be made to the Bill. However, only those MSPs on the Committee may lodge and vote on amendments at this Stage.

Final Stage: As with any Stage 3 of a Public Bill, amendments may be lodged to amend the Bill. This time any MSP may lodge an amendment and it would be voted on by the whole Parliament. A final debate takes place in the Chamber with a vote where the Bill will be passed or fall.

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