Back

 

MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

Vol. 2, No. 15 Session 1

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 6 July 2000

 

 

Note: (DT) signifies a decision taken at Decision Time.

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Ministerial Statement: The Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning made a statement on the Review of Enterprise Network.

2. Modernisation in the NHS: The Minister for Health and Community Care moved S1M-1091-That the Parliament recognises the Scottish Executive's commitment to the NHS in Scotland and to improving the health of the Scottish people; supports the Scottish Executive's commitment to build on the founding principles of the NHS and to providing a modern health service designed around the needs of patients; recognises that the delivery of a modern NHS requires both resources and reform; welcomes the Scottish Executive's commitment to target its record investment in the NHS to areas of greatest need and to those changes which have greatest benefits for patients, and supports the Scottish Executive's plans for the modernisation of the NHS in Scotland.

Kay Ullrich moved amendment S1M-1091.1 to motion S1M-1091-

Leave out from first "Scottish" to end and insert-

"failure of the Scottish Executive to tackle the chronic problems which currently exist in the health service in Scotland; calls upon the First Minister to take immediate action to address the situation; condemns the mismanagement and inaction on the part of the Executive, and demands new and imaginative methods of ensuring that the NHS in Scotland is run on the basis of patient need and not political expediency."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 50, Against 64, Abstentions 0).

Mary Scanlon moved amendment S1M-1091.2 to motion S1M-1091-

Leave out from first "the Scottish" to end and insert-

"that the delivery of a modern NHS requires both resources and reform; calls upon the Scottish Executive to abandon those policies which foster a spirit of divisiveness, to adopt policies which will restore the morale of the health service workers at all levels and to work with medical professionals and relevant authorities to address the need for investment in equipment and training and ensure that the 135 million underspend is fully committed to benefit patient care, and further calls for the development of a new approach to long-term and community care through unified health and social work budgets."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 18, Against 65, Abstentions 32).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 51, Abstentions 0).

3. Government Resources and Accounts Bill: The Minister for Finance moved S1M-1072-That the Parliament endorses the principle of the creation of Partnerships UK; agrees that the Scottish Ministers should have the power to take a financial interest in that body to ensure that Scottish interests are safeguarded, and agrees that the relevant provisions in the Government Resources and Accounts Bill should be considered by the UK Parliament.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 84, Against 5, Abstentions 27).

4. Business Motion: Mr Tom McCabe, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S1M-1085-That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business-

Wednesday 6 September 2000

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Stage 3 Debate on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Bill

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business

Thursday 7 September 2000

9.30 am Executive Business

followed by Business Motion

2.30 pm Question Time

3.10 pm First Minister's Question Time

3.30 pm Executive Business

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business

The motion was agreed to.

5. Question Time: Questions were answered by the Deputy First Minister and Minister for Justice and other Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

6. Code of Conduct for Members: Relationships Between MSPs: Mr Mike Rumbles, on behalf of the Standards Committee, moved S1M-1087-That the Parliament agrees to amend the Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament as follows-

a) in Section 9.2, after "Equal Opportunities", insert:

'Relationships Between MSPs

9.2.3 The Scottish Parliament consists of both constituency and regional list MSPs. All MSPs have equal formal and legal status. Guidance on the relationships between MSPs is attached as Annexe 5';

b) renumber all following paragraphs accordingly, and

c) as Annexe 5 to the Code, insert the following:

RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MSPs: GUIDANCE FROM THE PRESIDING OFFICER

1. This note offers guidance to Members on handling constituency interests. It aims to build on the close and constructive relationships developing between Members in Parliament. It has been agreed after work by an all-party group which reported to the Presiding Officer and in consultation with the business managers of the main parties. Further guidance will be issued in due course on the working relationships between MSPs and MPs.

2. Some of the guidance is presented as if being addressed to constituents or agencies. It is intended therefore to make available to the wider Scottish public in appropriate forms.

3. Members must ensure that their staff in the Parliament and locally, and others working on their behalf with constituents and agencies, are aware of, and conform to, this guidance.

Key principles

4. The guidance is founded on five key principles:

I one constituency MSP and seven list MSPs who are elected in the wider region. All eight MSPs have a duty to be accessible to the people of the areas for which they have been elected to serve and to represent their interests conscientiously.

II the wishes of constituents and/or the interests of a constituency or locality are of paramount importance.

III All MSPs have equal formal and legal status.

IV MSPs should not misrepresent the basis on which they are elected or the area they serve.

V No MSP should deal with a matter relating to a constituent, constituency case or constituency issue outwith his or her constituency or region (as the case may be), unless by prior agreement.

5. What follows is guidance on how those principles should be applied in practice.

Dealing with individual constituents' cases

6. The basic principle is that the wishes of the constituent are paramount. In particular, a constituent has the right to approach his or her constituency MSP, or any of the seven regional MSPs elected in his or her region. They also have the right to expect an MSP to take on a case though the MSP must be able to judge how best to do so. It is expected, however, that, in practice, the usual point of contact for a constituent raising a specific personal or local matter will be his or her constituency MSP. In the event that a regional ('list') MSP does raise a constituency case (for example with a Minister or local authority) he or she must notify the relevant constituency MSP at the outset unless the consent of the constituent is withheld. A suggested pro-forma for this purpose is attached at Appendix A.

7. Ministers or agencies such as local authorities and health boards, who are in correspondence with MSPs on such constituency issues, should not notify other MSPs representing the area. That would breach the confidential nature of the relationship between constituent and MSP. The only exception is where constituency cases raise more general issues of relevance to the whole constituency or area. In those circumstances, a Minister or agency may judge it appropriate to notify other MSPs with an interest of the general issue. They should not, however, refer to, or identify, individual constituents in doing so. Staff working on behalf of Ministers or agencies should be made aware of and apply these guidelines.

Dealing with Ministers

8. Any Member is entitled to raise with the relevant Minister in the Scottish Executive a matter on behalf of a constituent in the area for which they were elected. The Minister would be expected only to reply to the MSP raising the matter. It is for that MSP to notify others, taking into account, of course, the views of the constituent as in paragraph 6 above. The guidance on relationships between MPs and MSPs will contain further guidance on dealing with Ministers, especially those of the UK Government.

9. Ministers planning to visit constituencies should, as a matter of course, only notify the constituency MSP. At their discretion, they may also notify regional Members representing the area.

Dealing with constituency/regional issues

10. Any MSP is entitled to take an interest in or take up a matter affecting the constituency or region for which they were elected. MSPs are likely to have a greater impact where they work collectively for a common cause, as their constituents would expect them to. That may not be possible in some instances because of perfectly legitimate political differences but MSPs may wish to contact one another, as a matter of courtesy, where they are involved or planning to become involved in a major local issue.

Dealing with local agencies and dealing with national agencies operating locally

11. Any MSP elected to represent an area has the right to be expected to be consulted as appropriate by local or national agencies operating in that area. It is recognised that this might involve such agencies (NDPBs, local authorities, health boards etc) in dealing with potentially large numbers of MSPs, in particular, where agency boundaries cross regional boundaries. The expectation therefore is that the constituency Member or Members will be involved as a matter of course and that agencies will make appropriate arrangements to maintain contact and consult with regional list MSPs which have relevant regional representation perhaps through a representative regional list MSP nominated by each party. Agencies are free to inform or consult these nominated members either jointly with constituency members, or separately. This does not affect the right of any Member representing a constituency or area to raise a matter on behalf of a constituent.

School visits

12. Where schools visit the Parliament, constituency Members should be invited to attend as a matter of course. The Education Centre in the Parliament should notify regional Members who will be expected to agree on a maximum of one regional Member from each party within the region to attend such visits.

Telephone enquiries

13. Members of the public calling the Parliament's public enquiry unit for a particular Member or the Member for a particular constituency will be put through only to the Member concerned. If the Member is unavailable the person calling will be given the option of leaving a message. Members of the public will not be put through to regional Members where constituency Members are unavailable unless they ask to speak to a named regional Member.

Describing Members

14. Regional Members and constituency Members must describe themselves accurately so as not to confuse those with whom they deal.

Constituency Members should always describe themselves as:

"[Name], Member of the Scottish Parliament for [x] constituency."

Regional Members should always describe themselves as:

"[Name], Member of the Scottish Parliament for [y] region."

15. Regional Members must not describe themselves as a "local" Member for (or having a particular interest in) only part of the region for which they were elected. Constituency Members should not describe themselves as the sole MSP for a particular area or constituency. Guidance for Members on regional and constituency office signage can be found in section 5 of the document 'Standards and Procedures for Use of the Scottish Parliament Logo and Stationery'. This document is located on SPEIR at the following address: http://intranet/speir/isystems/msp-bdgl.htm#5. Further guidance may be issued by the Presiding Officer as appropriate in the context of a period prior to an election.

16. Members are obviously aware that, once elected, they represent all the people living in their constituency or region. For that reason members are strongly discouraged from identifying party affiliation on stationery and other items provided out of public funds including Parliament headed letter paper, surgery advertisements and business cards.

Regional Members operating in their regions

17. It follows from the first and second principles and from what is said above that regional Members have responsibility to all those in the region for which they were elected. It is important therefore that they recognise this in the way in which they operate within the region. This is an issue of fundamental importance in the relationship between constituency and regional Members. The following is of critical relevance in dealing with any complaints regarding these matters. Regional Members are expected to work in more than 2 constituencies within their region. Evidence that they were doing so would include holding surgeries in more than 2 constituencies (though regional Members do have the option of holding surgeries in their Party's regional office only) and dealing with local authorities and other agencies and constituents in more than 2 constituencies within their region. Regional Members would also, of course, be expected to deal (as appropriate) with any matter raised by any constituent within their region.

MSPs' staff

18. Members should ensure that staff working on their behalf are aware of and apply these guidelines.

Enforcement

19. Any complaint against a Member (including one about their staff or others working for them) in respect of this guidance should in the first instance be made to the Presiding Officer. The Presiding Officer will, as appropriate, contact the Member or Members involved and, if necessary, their respective Party Business Managers. Where the matter cannot be resolved informally in this way, where the matter is of sufficient seriousness to warrant a more formal investigation, or where any MSP directly involved remains dissatisfied the Presiding Officer will raise the matter with the Convener of the Standards Committee. The Standards Committee would then consider the matter as it judges appropriate in accordance with its procedures and its remit to consider and report on the conduct of members in carrying out their Parliamentary duties. It is fundamental to the success of this document that the Standards Committee will as a matter of course, treat all breaches of these principles with the utmost seriousness. Members should note that raising matters in any way other than that described above (in particular via the media) may well prejudice their case.

APPENDIX A

 

 

Member for [X] Constituency

Scottish Parliament

EDINBURGH

EH99 1SP

(or Constituency address as appropriate)

 

 

 

MATTER RAISED BY [NAME OF CONSTITUENT]

I am writing to notify you that [name of constituent] has raised a matter concerning [brief general description of issue] with me. I am taking this forward as appropriate.

 

 

 

 

[Name of Regional Member]

 

The motion was agreed to (DT).

7. Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill: The Deputy Minister for Local Government moved S1M-1073-That the Parliament endorses the principle of replacing section 93 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 with a provision placing a duty on broadcasters to draw up a code of practice as respects the involvement of candidates in broadcasts pending an election, and agrees that provision to this end in the case of local government elections in Scotland should be considered by the United Kingdom Parliament as part of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Witnesses Expenses and Allowances: Robert Brown, on behalf of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, moved S1M-1086-That the Parliament determines that-

(a) allowances and expenses in respect of the matters set out in column (1) below be paid or payable, as the case may be, in accordance with Rule 2.6.2 or 12.4.3 of the Standing Orders, as the case may be, to a person who attends proceedings of the Parliament for the purpose of giving evidence or who produces documents in his or her custody or under his or her control;

(b) said allowances and expenses be at the rates set out in column (2) opposite the respective entries in column (1);

(c) the rates set out in column (2) be uprated in accordance with column (3);

(d) the SPCB be directed to issue guidance and provide claim forms in connection with the payment of such allowances and expenses; and

(e) that the qualifying date for such expenses and allowances be 1 July 1999.

Column (1)

Allowances and expenses

Column (2)

Rate of payment

Column (3)

Uprating provision

Travelling expenses, using public transport including taxi and plane (for plane with prior approval); or by private car, motor cycle or pedal cycle.

Public transport, actual fare Private car: 36p per mile Motor cycle: 23p per mile Pedal cycle: 12p per mile.

Annually on 1 April based on the Retail Price Index

Subsistence costs that is the costs of meals and other subsistence required and of overnight accommodation.

Actual costs up to a maximum of -

overnight:- 80;

daytime -

under 5 hours: nil

5 - 10 hours: 4.25

10 hours or over: 9.30

As above

 

Loss of earnings

Actual sum lost up to a maximum of 160 per half day including travelling time, but not where the witness is giving evidence in the course of his or her employment

As above

Travelling expenses, subsistence costs and loss of earnings, of any person, who is acting as a carer, whom the person attending the proceedings of the Parliament to give evidence requires to accompany him or her

Travelling expenses and subsistence: as above.

Loss of earnings: actual sum lost up to a maximum of 160 per half day including travelling time.

As above

Childcare costs, specially incurred

2.50 per hour.

As above

Photocopying documents which are required or invited to be produced and any other reasonable costs associated with the production of such documents.

Actual photocopying costs up to a maximum of 10p per sheet.

Postage at cost.

As above

Dr Richard Simpson moved amendment S1M-1086.1 to motion S1M-1086-

In the line beginning "childcare costs, specially incurred", in column (2), leave out "2.50 per hour" and insert "up to 5 per hour".

The amendment was agreed to (DT).

The motion as amended was then agreed to (DT).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved-That the Parliament determines that-

(a) allowances and expenses in respect of the matters set out in column (1) below be paid or payable, as the case may be, in accordance with Rule 2.6.2 or 12.4.3 of the Standing Orders, as the case may be, to a person who attends proceedings of the Parliament for the purpose of giving evidence or who produces documents in his or her custody or under his or her control;

(b) said allowances and expenses be at the rates set out in column (2) opposite the respective entries in column (1);

(c) the rates set out in column (2) be uprated in accordance with column (3);

(d) the SPCB be directed to issue guidance and provide claim forms in connection with the payment of such allowances and expenses; and

(e) that the qualifying date for such expenses and allowances be 1 July 1999.

Column (1)

Allowances and expenses

Column (2)

Rate of payment

Column (3)

Uprating provision

Travelling expenses, using public transport including taxi and plane (for plane with prior approval); or by private car, motor cycle or pedal cycle.

Public transport, actual fare Private car: 36p per mile Motor cycle: 23p per mile Pedal cycle: 12p per mile.

Annually on 1 April based on the Retail Price Index

Subsistence costs that is the costs of meals and other subsistence required and of overnight accommodation.

Actual costs up to a maximum of -

overnight:- 80;

daytime -

under 5 hours: nil

5 - 10 hours: 4.25

10 hours or over: 9.30

As above

Loss of earnings

Actual sum lost up to a maximum of 160 per half day including travelling time, but not where the witness is giving evidence in the course of his or her employment

As above

Travelling expenses, subsistence costs and loss of earnings, of any person, who is acting as a carer, whom the person attending the proceedings of the Parliament to give evidence requires to accompany him or her

Travelling expenses and subsistence: as above.

Loss of earnings: actual sum lost up to a maximum of 160 per half day including travelling time.

As above

Childcare costs, specially incurred

Up to 5 per hour.

As above

Photocopying documents which are required or invited to be produced and any other reasonable costs associated with the production of such documents.

Actual photocopying costs up to a maximum of 10p per sheet.

Postage at cost.

As above

9. Decision Time: The Parliament took a decision on items 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8 as noted above.

10. University of the Highlands and Islands: The Parliament debated S1M-1009 in the name of George Lyon-That the Parliament notes with concern that UHI, the company promoting the University of the Highlands and Islands project, has not yet been designated as a provider of higher education, eligible for funding by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council; notes that this is a flagship project for the Highlands and Islands and a long held dream by many of its communities, and gives its wholehearted support to this vitally important project.

The meeting closed at 5.45 pm.

 

 

 

P E Grice

Clerk of the Parliament

6 July 2000

 

Appendix

(Note: this Appendix does not form part of the Minutes)

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 6 July 2000 and is subject to annulment

The Prohibition of Fishing with Multiple Trawls (Scotland) Order 2000 (SSI 2000/226)

laid under the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967

Not Subject to any Parliamentary Procedure

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 6 July 2000 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

The Sea Fish (Specified Sea Areas) Regulation of Nets and Other Fishing Gear) (Scotland) Order 2000 (SSI 2000/227)

laid under the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 6 July 2000 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Scottish Tourist Board Accounts 1999-2000 (SE/2000/83)

laid under the Development of Tourism Act 1969

Industrial Development Act 1992: Annual Report by the Secretaries of State for Trade and Industry, Scotland and Wales, The First Minister of the Scottish Parliament and the First Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales, for the year ended 31 March 2000 (SE/2000/85)

laid under the Industrial Development Act 1982

Committee Reports

The following Reports are being published on 7 July 2000-

Audit Committee, 4th Report 2000: Scottish Enterprise: Skillseekers Training for Young People (SP Paper 166)

Finance Committee, 12th Report 2000: The Finance Functions of the Scottish Executive (SP Paper 167)

 

 
Back