Scottish Parliament Legislative
Briefing No. 122 Sept. 2005
The First Minister has announced the programme of
legislation for the remaining 19 months of the parliament in the
run up to the 2007 elections. He presented it as a programme:
• for justice and respect
• to ensure no child is left behind or held back
• for health improvement
• and for growing economic prosperity for all of Scotland to share
This briefing sets out the main bills as they impact
on UNISON members.
SCOTTISH HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION BILL
Establish an independent and statutory Scottish
Human Rights Commission (SHRC). The SHRC will have legal powers
to obtain information. However, the SHRC will not be able to investigate
individual complaints, provide support to individuals for taking
cases through the courts, or bring cases in its own name. The
SHRC will not deal with reserved issues. Human rights in relation
to reserved matters will be dealt with by the proposed Great Britain
Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR), which is also
to take over the role of the existing statutory commissions in
relation to equality issues.
This bill will replace existing court orders with
a single Permanence Order, Allow joint adoption by unmarried couples
(including same-sex couples) and fostering by same-sex couples.
There will be better adoption support services for adoption and
foster carers together with clear rights to information about
adoption for those involved.
CHILDREN'S HEARINGS AND INTEGRATED SERVICES
The Bill will encourage all agencies to look at
the child's needs and ensure that action is taken in an integrated
and co-ordinated way. Integrated assessment, recording and planning
will reduce paperwork and streamline activity to allow those working
with children to deliver the service.
HEALTH PROMOTION, NUTRITION AND SCHOOLS
The Bill will build on the progress made through
Hungry for Success in improving the quality, attractiveness
and nutritional value of schools meals. By putting the Hungry
for Success nutritional standards on a statutory footing,
it will effectively restrict the food on sale in schools to healthy
options. It will also place a duty on local authorities to promote
uptake of school meals, and also ensure that the school environment
is health promoting. However, free school meals will remain targeted
on those most in need.
SCOTTISH SCHOOLS (PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT)
The Bill places a new statutory duty on education
authorities to promote parental involvement. This includes a new,
flexible representative system for parents. There will be a duty
on every headteacher to provide a report to parents on their school's
performance and ambitions with parental rights to request information
and raise their concerns directly with Her Majesty's Inspectorate
LOCAL GOVERNMENT (ELECTORAL ADMINISTRATION
AND REGISTRATION SERVICES) BILL
Modernising elections and improving the security
of absent voting following the recommendations of an Electoral
Commission study. The reorganisation of registration district
boundaries to match those of local authorities and allow registration
of a birth or death of a person to be carried out anywhere in
Scotland. Together with a range of proposals to simplify registration.
SUMMARY JUSTICE REFORM BILL
Setting minimum national standards for the recruitment,
appraisal and training of lay justices. Unifying administration
of the Scottish courts system, by bringing district courts (which
are currently run by local authorities) under the management of
SCS. Increasing the level of fiscal fines and sentencing powers
of sheriffs sitting summarily to a maximum 12 months imprisonment
and £10,000 fine. Widening the range of circumstances in which
accused can be tried in their absence.
A new regime for the release and supervision of
prisoners. Criminalise kerb-crawling and clamping down on violent
and abusive pornography. Legislation to improve how hate crime
is dealt with and restricting the sale of knives and swords.
POLICE, PUBLIC ORDER AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Bring together common police services such as the
Scottish Police College and Scottish Criminal Record Office, along
with the new Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency into a
Scottish Police Services Authority. Establish an independent Police
Complaints Commissioner for Scotland to oversee non-criminal complaints
against the police.
Introduce Football Banning Orders, mandatory drug
testing and assessment for people arrested for drug or drugs-related
offences and amend the law and sentences on knife crime. Reform
the law on marches and parades, introduce a system where those
accused of a crime could receive a reduced sentence or immunity
in return for providing information or evidence and give police
the power to require a person to divulge their date and place
of birth, to help identify them on the criminal record system.
LEGAL ASSISTANCE AND LEGAL PROFESSION BILL
Changes to the handling of complaints against lawyers
and the provision of publicly-funded legal advice and assistance
JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS & REMOVAL BILL
Place the independent Judicial Appointments Board
on a statutory basis and set out the arrangements for removal
of a judge from office on grounds of inability, neglect of duty
Establishing the National Planning Framework to
secure the delivery of national policies and programmes and a
new process for developments of national strategic importance,
applications for key large-scale development proposals, and for
the majority of planning applications that are of local importance.
Moving to a single tier of local development plans everywhere
apart from the four largest city regions and a range of administrative
reforms. No third party right of appeal.
VULNERABLE ADULTS BILL
The Bill will create a list of those who are unsuitable
to work with vulnerable adults - and help ensure that the frail,
elderly and vulnerable population gets the same level of protection
Provide a secure legal footing for the new tourism
network established on 1 April 2005 by a merger between 14 Area
Tourist Boards and the Scottish Tourism Board.
Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Bill
Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill
Crofting Reform Bill
Bankruptcy and Diligence Etc (Scotland) Bill
Transport and Works (Scotland) Bill
There are few surprises in a legislative programme
that concludes the coalition programme. Most of the Bills UNISON
welcomes in principle including the establishment of the SHRC.
The main impact on UNISON members will be in the summary Justice,
planning, registration and criminal justice Bills that all involve
public service reorganisation. Detailed briefings on these issues
will be prepared as the legislation progresses.
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