MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
Vol. 2, No. 29 Session 1
Meeting of the Parliament
Wednesday 1 November 2000
Note: (DT) signifies a decision taken at Decision Time.
The meeting opened at
1. Time for Reflection: The Reverend I David Miller, Chaplain of Saughton Prison, Edinburgh, led Time for Reflection.
2. Scottish Ministers: Henry McLeish moved S1M-1297—That the Parliament agrees that Jackie Baillie and Angus MacKay be appointed as Ministers.
David McLetchie moved amendment S1M-1297.1 to motion S1M-1297—
Leave out "and Angus MacKay."
After debate, the amendment was disagreed to (by division: For 43, Against 66, Abstentions 0).
The motion was then agreed to.
3. Junior Scottish Ministers: Henry McLeish moved S1M-1298—That the Parliament agrees that Malcolm Chisholm, Margaret Curran, Tavish Scott and Allan Wilson be appointed as junior Scottish Ministers.
After debate, the motion was agreed to.
4. Official Information and Accountability to Parliament - The Executive's Policy: Henry McLeish moved S1M-1299—That the Parliament notes that the Executive is committed to a policy of openness, accessibility and accountability in all its dealings with the Parliament and its Committees; further notes both the Parliament’s right and duty to hold the Executive to account including the power to invoke section 23 of the Scotland Act and the public interest in maintaining the confidentiality of exchanges between officials and Ministers concerning policy advice; observes that other Parliaments with strong freedom of information regimes do not disclose the terms of such exchanges and calls, to that end, for the Executive and the Parliament to observe the following principles:
(i) consistent with its policy of openness, the Executive should always seek to make as much information as possible publicly available as a matter of course and should respond positively to requests for information from the Parliament and its Committees;
(ii) officials are accountable to Ministers and Ministers in turn are accountable to the Parliament and it follows that, while officials can provide Committees with factual information, Committees should look to Ministers to account for the policy decisions they have taken;
(iii) where, exceptionally, Committees find it necessary to scrutinise exchanges between officials and Ministers on policy issues, arrangements should be made to ensure that the confidentiality of these exchanges is respected,
and commends these principles to Committees as guidelines to be followed in their dealings with the Executive.
Mr John Swinney moved amendment S1M-1299.2 to motion S1M-1299—
Leave out from "that the Executive" to end and insert—
"the need for openness, accessibility and accountability in the workings of the Executive and calls upon the First Minister to convene a meeting at which the Leaders of the political parties in the Parliament and the members of the Consultative Steering Group develop guidelines for access to information in relation to the scrutiny of the Executive by the Parliament and its committees and to bring the proposed guidelines from the meeting before the Parliament for debate."
After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 30, Against 83, Abstentions 0).
David McLetchie moved amendment S1M-1299.1 to motion S1M-1299—
Insert at end—
"and further calls upon the Executive to clarify (a) in what circumstances exceptions to these principles are acceptable to it in relation to advice given to Ministers by civil servants and (b) how the proposals entitled "Bringing politics back to the heart of Government" presented to Labour MSPs by Henry McLeish on 24 October 2000 (and any subsequent clarification of same) are reconciled with these principles."
After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 18, Against 66, Abstentions 30).
The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 66, Against 29, Abstentions 19).
5. Decision Time: The Parliament took a decision on item 4 as noted above.
6. Sydney Paralympics and Olympic Games: The Parliament debated S1M-1188 in the name of Mrs Mary Mulligan—That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Paralympians and Olympians on their success at being selected for the Sydney games and congratulates the teams on their success in Australia.
The meeting closed at 5.42 pm.
(Note: this Appendix does not form part of the Minutes)
The following document was laid before the Parliament on 26 October 2000 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure
The BSE Inquiry Report (SE/2000/201)
The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 31 October 2000 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—
Scottish Environment Protection Agency Report and Accounts for the Year Ended 31 March 2000 (SE/2000/202)—
Scottish Environment Protection Agency Annual Report 1999-2000 (SE/2000/203)—
laid under the Environment Act 1995
Horticultural Development Council Annual Report and Accounts 1998-99 (SE/2000/205)
laid under the Industrial Organisation and Development Act 1947
The 1999-2000 Audit of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency: Report by the Auditor General for Scotland (SE/2000/204)
laid under the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000
The following Report was published on 27 October 2000
Subordinate Legislation Committee, 36th Report 2000: Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 201)
The following Report was published on 30 October 2000
Health and Community Care Committee, 14th Report 2000: Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 202)
The following Report was published on 1 November 2000
Subordinate Legislation Committee, 37th Report 2000: Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 208)
The following draft instrument, which was laid before the Parliament on 23 October 2000, has been withdrawn
The draft Welfare of Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000