The Scottish Parliament might be in recess but we're already thinking about the issues that will be at the top of the agenda when members return in September. Below, we look at the likely workloads of another five committees.
Delegated Powers & Law Reform
The Delegated Powers & Law Reform Committee is mostly concerned with the day-to-day items of subordinate legislation that pass through the Scottish Parliament. However, over the last few months the Committee has been the lead for the Prescription (Scotland) Bill, which makes several changes to how legal rights and obligations operate over time. Members published their Stage 1 report on this legislation in June and we can expect the Committee to lead on the Stage 2 proceedings when the time comes.
Economy, Jobs & Fair Work Committee
The Economy Committee is one of the busiest in Parliament and its upcoming work already looks substantial. In a follow-up to the inquiries into Scotland’s economic performance and bank closures (which are still to be debated in the Chamber), the attention turns to the support provided by Business Gateway. Expect attempts to discuss the alternatives which businesses might choose those instead. The Damages (Investment Returns and Periodical Payments) (Scotland) Bill will be considered, as well as the potential implications of a publicly-owned energy company as a driver or hinderance to green and cheaper energy. Underpinning all this will be its consideration of the Draft Budget, which, like winter, is now beginning earlier and earlier.
Public Audit & Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee
The Public Audit & Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee agreed an updated work programme at its final meeting before recess. It will continue to scrutinise the implementation of the Scotland Acts; the administration of the Scottish Rate of Income Tax; NHS Tayside; workforce planning in the NHS, and the health service more generally. Major IT projects, an area of longstanding concern for a range of public bodies, will also be revisited. These are all areas that have been the subject of reports by the Auditor General for Scotland and the Committee’s work is driven, to a significant extent, by the work of Audit Scotland. Prior to recess, the Committee agreed to undertake post-legislative scrutiny of the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010. This legislation gave councils the power to impose measures on the owners of dogs that are not under control and the Committee wants to know if they are using the power effectively. A call for evidence was launched and the closing date for responses is Friday 5th October, meaning the issue is unlikely to feature significantly until the end of the year at the earliest.
The Public Petitions Committee considers all the petitions brought by the public to the Scottish Parliament. MSPs will often transfer petitions to their relevant portfolio committees or deal with them quickly if it’s clear that no resolution can be achieved. In other cases, members will do more detailed work themselves and take evidence over a longer period. Some examples of what to expect in the near future:
Standards, Procedures & Public Appointments Committee
As a committee which reacts to events, the Standards, Procedures & Public Appointments Committee does not have a significant workload booked in once the summer holidays end. Nonetheless, complaints against James Dornan over his conduct during the Mark McDonald investigation will be considered and the implementation of the Commission for Parliamentary Reform’s recommendations is expected to start to gather pace.
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