Scotland politics

Independent review of Scottish Parliament systems

Scottish parliament chamber Image copyright PA

A review of the functions of the Scottish Parliament is to be carried out by an independent commission.

The Commission on Parliamentary Reform will study the role of Holyrood in scrutinising legislation, the committee system and parliament's independence from the Scottish government.

The study will be led by the outgoing Electoral Commissioner John McCormick.

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh said the parliament's systems "are not broken but are in need of an MOT".

Mr McCormick, who stands down from the post of electoral commissioner at the end of the year, said the commission would have a "wide and substantial remit".

As well as studying the checks and balances parliament has in place for day to day business, it will look at how engagement with wider society and the public can be increased.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Macintosh has recently been appointed to the Queen's Privy Council

Mr Macintosh, who has just been formally accepted into the Queen's Privy Council, said an "independent, external" commission was the "best vehicle" for assessing Holyrood.

He said: "During this session the Scottish Parliament will turn 21, and in its lifetime we will have seen coalition, majority and minority government, further devolution of powers and a digital revolution. The time is therefore right for us to reflect on our experience and take a serious look at how the Parliament should evolve to ensure it best meets the needs of the Scottish people.

"Over the last decade or more, we have seen Scottish politics become increasingly tribal and divisive. This has, among other things, made it challenging for MSPs to find the space to develop in their distinct role as parliamentarians.

"I want the commission's work therefore to help bring the Parliament back to its roots, ensuring Holyrood is open, transparent, truly participative and fit for the significant challenges which lie ahead."

Mr McCormick said hearing the views of the public would be "key" to informing the work of the commission.

It is expected to submit its report to the presiding officer in June 2017.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites