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Scotland Act 1998

SCHEDULE 2: Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.

Purpose and Effect

This Schedule makes further detailed provision relating to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB), which is established by section 21.  This Schedule covers the membership, property, staff, powers, proceedings and Crown status of the SPCB.  The SPCB will carry out the functions conferred on it by the Scotland Act and may have additional functions conferred on it by other enactments.  It will carry out its functions under directions issued by the Parliament.

There were various transitional provisions made relating to the administration of the Parliament by the Scotland Act 1998 (Transitory and Transitional Provisions) (Administration of the Parliament) Order 1999  (S.I. 1999/1098). In particular, in the period from 1 June 1999 to 1 April 2002 (or such earlier date as the SPCB may notify), the Secretary of State or, after 1 July 1999, the Scottish Ministers, were required to provide the SPCB with such staff and services as the SPCB may request. Most of the staff and all of the services are now provided directly by the SPCB.

Parliamentary Consideration


Details of Provisions

Paragraph 1 provides that a member of the SPCB appointed under section 21(2)(b) will continue to hold that office until another member of the Parliament is appointed in his place unless he previously resigns, or ceases to be an MSP otherwise than by virtue of a dissolution of the Parliament, or is removed from office by resolution of the Parliament.  A member of the SPCB will not therefore cease to be a member of the SPCB merely because he ceases to be an MSP because the Parliament has been dissolved. This ensures that the SPCB can continue to function during a dissolution.

Paragraph 2 gives power to the SPCB to hold property and this includes, by implication, the acquisition and disposal of property. Property is defined in section 126(1) as including rights and interests of any description. Sub-paragraph (2) confers a power to provide, by subordinate legislation for the transfer of any property belonging to a Minister of the Crown or government department to the SPCB, or for the SPCB to have rights or interests in relation to such property. Sub-paragraph (3) provides that the subordinate legislation under sub-paragraph (2) may also provide for the transfer to the SPCB of any liabilities relating to the property to which a Minister of the Crown or government department is subject, immediately prior to the Order coming into force. Sub-paragraph (4) provides that the power in sub-paragraph (2) may only be used if the person making the subordinate legislation considers it appropriate to do so to enable the SPCB to exercise its functions or to facilitate their exercise or in connection with their exercise or proposed exercise.

Further provision about the making of subordinate legislation under this power is to be found in sections 112 to 115 and Schedule 7. In particular, it is subject to Type G procedure specified in paragraph 2 of Schedule 7 which means that it is subject to either draft affirmative procedure or negative procedure in the Westminster Parliament.

This power was exercised in making the Transfer of Property (Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/1106).

In addition, where there is Parliamentary copyright in any work, the SPCB is the first owner of any copyright in the work by virtue of the amendments made to section 165 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 by the Parliamentary Copyright (Scottish Parliament) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/676).

 Paragraph 3 makes provision for the appointment of the staff of the Parliament.  The appointment of assistant Clerks and other staff of the Parliament is a matter for the SPCB (sub-paragraph (1)) and they, together with the Clerk, are referred to in the Act as the staff of the Parliament (sub-paragraph (2)).  Under sub-paragraph (3) it is for the SPCB to determine the terms and conditions of appointment of the staff of the Parliament and this will include the payment of salaries.  The SPCB will also be able to make arrangements for the payment of pensions, gratuities or allowances to, or in respect of, any person who has ceased to be a member of the staff of the Parliament.  The SPCB can, in particular, make contributions or payments towards provision for such pensions, gratuities or allowances and can establish and administer one or more pension schemes (sub-paragraph (4)).

See also the Superannuation (Application of the Superannuation Act 1972, Section 1) (No.2) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/2092) which adds employment by the SPCB to those listed in Schedule 1 to the Superannuation Act 1972. This enables the staff of the Parliament to be covered by the Principal Civil Service Scheme.

Paragraph 4 makes provision as to the powers of the SPCB.  The SPCB has power to do anything which appears to it to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of or in connection with the discharge of its functions (sub-paragraph (1)).  In particular, under sub-paragraph (2), this includes power to enter into contracts; to charge for goods and services, to invest sums not immediately required by the SPCB in relation to the discharge of its functions and to accept gifts.  Sub-paragraph (3) provides that the corporation may sell goods or provide services and may make arrangements for the sale of goods or provision of services to the public.  Sub-paragraphs (4) and (5) allow the SPCB to borrow money but only in sterling by way of an overdraft or otherwise to meet a temporary excess of expenditure over income.  Such money can only be borrowed in accordance with the special or general approval of the Parliament.

Paragraph 5 allows the SPCB to delegate any of its functions to the Presiding Officer or the Clerk.

Paragraph 6 makes provision as to the proceedings and business of the SPCB.  The membership of the SPCB stands at five (including the Presiding Officer), however, the validity of any proceedings of the SPCB will not be affected by any vacancy among its members or, by any defect in the appointment or qualification for membership of any member (sub-paragraph (1)).  Sub-paragraph (2) gives power to the SPCB to determine its own procedure and it is for the Presiding Officer to preside over the meetings of the SPCB (sub-paragraph (3)).  If the Presiding Officer’s office is vacant or the Presiding Officer is unable to act, then the SPCB can appoint another of its members to preside over the meeting.

Paragraph 7 deals with Crown status.  The SPCB is not a Crown body as it is exercising functions on behalf of the Parliament rather than the Scottish Executive.  Sub-paragraph (1) however provides that Her Majesty may, by Order in Council, provide for the SPCB to be treated as a Crown body for the purpose of any enactment.  In particular the Order in Council may provide for employment under the SPCB to be treated as Crown employment or for land held, used or managed by the SPCB or operations carried out by them to be treated as Crown land or operations.  This mirrors provision made in relation to the Parliamentary corporate bodies of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.  Paragraph 7(3) provides that “Crown body” means a servant or agent of the Crown and includes a government department.

This power was exercised in making the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (Crown Status) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/677), which provides for the SPCB to be treated as a Crown body for the purposes of various enactments relating to planning, building legislation, fire precautions, VAT and data protection.

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