Changes to the Scottish Parliament's practices and procedures to ensure its resilience in the face of future challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, have been recommended in a report published today.
Holyrood's Standards, Procedures & Public Appointments Committee, which has carried out an inquiry into the procedures introduced in response to the pandemic, including the ability to meet virtually or in hybrid format, and vote remotely, has agreed that a number of these should be made permanent so that the Parliament can adapt to any future situation which may impact on its ability to meet.
The committee is recommending a series of changes to the Parliament’s standing orders, such as:
- creating a new rule to make it easier to make temporary changes to the standing orders;
- making permanent changes to allow the Parliament to meet virtually or in hybrid format if needed;
- introducing a permanent change to allow for remote voting if needed.
Committee convener Bill Kidd MSP commented: "The pandemic had an immediate impact on the work of the Scottish Parliament, with huge changes to how we operate and conduct our business being made quickly,
"We should rightly reflect on the success of these in allowing all MSPs to not only contribute to debates, but to scrutinise and vote on legislation – something that has not happened in all legislatures.
"What has been clear to us during this inquiry, is that many of these changes need to become permanent to help ensure that Parliament is as resilient as possible for all future challenges."
Deputy convener Patrick Harvie MSP added: "Our report today makes it clear that, not only do we think that some of these innovations should stay, but that in the next session of Parliament work should be done to ensure that these procedures are as robust as possible as we move out of the pandemic, and beyond."