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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

Meeting of the Parliament

Vol 1No 32 Session 2

Thursday 13 November 2003

 
 

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

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Reforming Child Protection in Scotland: The Minister for Education and Young People (Peter Peacock) moved S2M-593—That the Parliament agrees that keeping Scotland’s children and young people safe from harm and neglect must be a priority for all; agrees the importance of having a sustainable programme of reform of child protection services; notes the progress on the three-year child protection reform programme and future plans, and supports the Scottish Executive’s decision to require local authorities, NHS boards and the police to review their practices in respect of child protection, take action where there are weaknesses, ensure that there are robust quality assurance processes in place and continue with initiatives to ensure that there are sufficient and well-trained social workers to meet current and projected needs.

Fiona Hyslop moved amendment S2M-593.3 to motion S2M-593—

Leave out from "continue" to end and insert—

"; acknowledges its own role in increasing the scale, pace and range of staff recruitment in social work and child care and protection to ensure there are sufficient, well-paid staff to meet current and projected needs, and agrees to review the role and powers of the Social Work Services Inspectorate in this area."

After debate, the amendment disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 33, Against 81, Abstentions 1).

Mary Scanlon moved amendment S2M-593.1 to motion S2M-593—

Insert at end—

"; acknowledges the findings of Susan O’Brien QC’s inquiry into the death of Caleb Ness, and as a result calls for greatly improved co-operation and communication between agencies along with new arrangements that encourage greater responsibility and accountability within the child protection system."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to (DT).

Rosemary Byrne moved amendment S2M-593.2 to motion S2M-593—

Insert at end

"; notes the continuing shortage of social workers, particularly in the child and family teams and that the current initiatives will not produce sufficient new workers to fill these vacancies and replace those due to retire; recognises that the current situation of local authorities competing with each other to attract staff is counter-productive; notes that there is a need to invest significantly to retain and attract future staff; regrets the continuing scapegoating of social workers when things go wrong which only serves to undermine the confidence of staff and contributes to the difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff, and recognises the extremely valuable work that social workers carry out every day making significant contributions to the lives of children and their families."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 11, Against 81, Abstentions 23).

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

Accordingly the Parliament resolved— That the Parliament agrees that keeping Scotland’s children and young people safe from harm and neglect must be a priority for all; agrees the importance of having a sustainable programme of reform of child protection services; notes the progress on the three-year child protection reform programme and future plans, and supports the Scottish Executive’s decision to require local authorities, NHS boards and the police to review their practices in respect of child protection, take action where there are weaknesses, ensure that there are robust quality assurance processes in place and continue with initiatives to ensure that there are sufficient and well-trained social workers to meet current and projected needs; acknowledges the findings of Susan O’Brien QC’s inquiry into the death of Caleb Ness, and as a result calls for greatly improved co-operation and communication between agencies along with new arrangements that encourage greater responsibility and accountability within the child protection system.

2. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

3. Question Time: Questions were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

4. Celebrating 150 Years of Public Libraries in Scotland: The Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport (Mr Frank McAveety) moved S2M-594—That the Parliament notes that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the Public Libraries Act in Scotland; congratulates public libraries on the diverse service they provide and, in particular, commends them for the success of the People’s Network in encouraging even greater use of library facilities, and praises local authorities for the part they play in providing this service.

Roseanna Cunningham moved amendment S2M-594.2 to motion S2M-594—

Leave out from "and, in particular", to end and insert—

"calls on the Scottish Executive to secure funding for the People’s Network beyond the cessation of New Opportunities Fund support in April 2004; recognises the important part that local authorities have played, and continue to play, in providing library services, and urges the Executive to enable local authorities to reverse the recent trend of a decline in the proportion of funds spent on libraries."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 27, Against 80, Abstentions 7).

Mr Jamie McGrigor moved amendment S2M-594.1 to motion S2M-594—

Insert at end—

"and notes the importance that libraries play in improving literacy rates for people of all ages."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to (DT).

Chris Ballance moved amendment S2M-594.4 to motion S2M-594—

Insert after "facilities"—

"congratulates Scotland’s librarians but notes with concern falling visitor numbers and calls on the Scottish Executive and local authorities to do all they can to reverse this situation; notes that libraries have great potential as community hubs and that their outreach and social inclusion functions are vital and often overlooked and applauds those libraries that are imaginatively tackling these important issues, and further congratulates those libraries that have put their catalogues online and engaged fully with new technology, enabling more of the population to access them,"

After debate, the amendment was agreed to (DT).

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

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the Public Libraries Act in Scotland; congratulates public libraries on the diverse service they provide and, in particular, commends them for the success of the People’s Network in encouraging even greater use of library facilities, congratulates Scotland’s librarians but notes with concern falling visitor numbers and calls on the Scottish Executive and local authorities to do all they can to reverse this situation; notes that libraries have great potential as community hubs and that their outreach and social inclusion functions are vital and often overlooked and applauds those libraries that are imaginatively tackling these important issues, and further congratulates those libraries that have put their catalogues online and engaged fully with new technology, enabling more of the population to access them; praises local authorities for the part they play in providing this service and notes the importance that libraries play in improving literacy rates for people of all ages.

5. Business Motion: Tavish Scott, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-588—That the Parliament agrees—

(a) that the Justice 2 Committee reports to the Justice 1 Committee by 24 November 2003 on the Victim Statements (Prescribed Offences) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2003 (SSI 2003/519);

(b) that Stage 1 of the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Bill be completed by 12 March 2004; and

(c) that Stage 1 of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill be completed by 30 January 2004.

The motion was agreed to.

6. Office of the Clerk: Tavish Scott, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-586—That the Parliament agrees that the Office of the Clerk will be closed on 29, 30 and 31 December 2003.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

7. Suspension of Standing Orders: Tavish Scott, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-587—That the Parliament agrees that Rules 13.6.4 and 13.6.7 of the Standing Orders be suspended for the purpose of Question Time on Thursday 8 January 2004.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 4, 6, and 7 as noted above.

9. Women’s Social and Political Union: The Parliament debated S2M-481 in the name of Cathy Peattie—That the Parliament notes that, on 10 October 1903, a group of women met in the Manchester home of Emmeline Pankhurst and founded the Women's Social and Political Union, which became known as the suffragette movement, with the aim of recruiting more working class women into the struggle for the vote and believes that this centenary year should be marked by efforts to promote the participation of women in the democratic process.

The meeting closed at 5.55 pm.

P E Grice

Clerk of the Parliament

13 November 2003

 

Appendix

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

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 13 November 2003 and is subject to annulment

The Air Quality Limit Values (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2003 (SSI 2003/547)

laid under schedule 2, paragraph 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 13 November 2003 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Scottish Natural Heritage Annual Report 2002-03 (SE/2003/306)

laid under section 10 of the Natural Heritage (Scotland) Act 1991

Scottish Natural Heritage Facts and Figures 2002-03 (SE/2003/307)

Committee Reports

The following Reports were published on 13 November 2003—

Health Committee, 9th Report 2003 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 42)

Justice 2 Committee, 3rd Report 2003 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 43)

Justice 2 Committee, 4th Report 2003 (Session 2): Stage 1 Report on Vulnerable Witnesses (Scotland) Bill (SP Paper 44)


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