The establishment of a Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive
had major implications for UNISON Scotland.
From 1 July 1999 full legislative, administrative and financial
powers for Scotland's public services have been devolved
from UK to Scotland.
This paper sets out: (See Index above for hyperlinks)
- The split in the powers and responsibilities of the
Westminster and Edinburgh Parliaments.
- The size and composition of the Scottish Parliament.
- Scottish Cabinet and Ministers.
- Scottish Parliament Committees.
- Scottish Executive's Legislative Programme.
- Scotland's Financial Arrangements.
- Recent UNISON Scotland responses to Scottish Executive
- Challenges and opportunities for influencing the public
policy making process.
- Steps taken to respond to the public policy challenge
– at a lay and full time level.
- Implications for collective bargaining in Scotland.
1. Powers and Responsibilities
The Scotland Act 1998 specifies the division in powers
between the UK and Scottish Parliaments.
Westminster retains the power for foreign affairs,
defence, macroeconomics, social security policy, employment
matters, immigration, and the British constitution
All other law making powers as well as administrative and
financial responsibility have transferred to the Scottish
- health and community care
- education and children
- lifelong learning including further and higher education
- agriculture and fisheries
- arts and culture
- rural affairs
- social inclusion
This means that for almost all UNISON members the decisions
taken by the Scottish Executive and Scottish Parliament
are the ones which affect them directly as employees.
2. Size and Composition of Scottish Parliament
There are 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs):
¨ 73 are elected in constituency seats using
first past the post
¨ 56 are elected from regional party lists -
7 from each of the eight European constituencies - to
ensure a more proportional outcome
Voters receive two ballot papers: one for their constituency
MSP and one for their regional list MSP.
At the Scottish General Election on 6 May 1999 the
result was a hung parliament leading to a Labour/Lib Dem
Scottish Labour Party 56 seats
Scottish National Party 35 seats
Scottish Conservative and Unionists 18 seats
Scottish Liberal Democrats 17 seats
Others 3 seats
The others included a Green, a Scottish Socialist and
There have been three by-elections since 1999 resulting
in one additional Tory MSP and one less Labour MSP.
Around 40% of the MSPs are women including over 50% of
There are at least 17 MSPs who are UNISON members: 12
Labour, 4 SNP and one independent.
Labour: Jackie Baillie, Scott Barrie, Malcolm
Chisholm, Rhoda Grant, Janis Hughes, Karen Gillon, Margaret
Jamieson, Andy Kerr, Marilyn Livingston, Henry McLeish,
Cathie Peattie, Allan Wilson.
SNP: Michael Matheson, Richard Lochhead, Kay Ullrich,
Independent: Dennis Canavan
UNISON APF has established a Labour Group of MSPs and
the union has had regular meetings with UNISON MSPs from
3. Scottish Cabinet and Ministers
The leader of the Scottish Parliament is the First Minister
who is elected by the whole Parliament. The First Minister
recommends the appointment of Scottish Executive Ministers
and these are approved by the Parliament.
The Scottish Cabinet is made up of 11 members and these
are shown in bold below. The full list of Ministries in
the Scottish Executive is as follows:
Henry McLeish MSP
Head of the Scottish Executive. With the Deputy
First Minister, responsible for the development, implementation
and presentation of policies.
First Minister and Minister for Justice
Jim Wallace QC MSP
Responsible for Home Affairs, including civil
law and criminal justice, criminal justice social
work services, police, fire, prisons and courts, law
reform, land reform policy and freedom of information.
Minister for Justice
Iain Gray MSP
Deputy to the Minister for Justice with special responsibility
for land reform and co-ordination of Executive policy
in relation to drugs.
for Education, Europe and External Affairs
Jack McConnell MSP
Responsible for pre-school and school education,
children and young people. Supports the First Minister
and Deputy First Minister in external relations, especially
development and implementation of links with Europe.
Minister for Education, Europe and External Affairs
Nicol Stephen MSP
Deputy to the Minister for Education, Europe and
for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning
Wendy Alexander MSP
Responsible for the Economy, Business and Industry
including Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands
Enterprise, tourism, trade and inward investment,
further and higher education, the science base and
e-commerce, Digital Scotland, lifelong learning, training
and the delivery of the new deal.
Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning and
Alasdair Morrison MSP
Deputy to the Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong
Learning with responsibility for Highlands and Islands
Enterprise, the University of the Highlands and Islands,
tourism and Gaelic.
for Finance and Local Government
Angus MacKay MSP
Responsible for the Scottish Budget, European
structural funds, local government (including finance),
21st Century Government encompassing e-government,
Modernising Government and Civil Service Reform. Supports
the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in oversight
of the Executive's central functions.
Minister for Finance and Local Government
Peter Peacock MSP
Deputy to the Minister for Finance and Local Government.
for Health and Community Care
Susan Deacon MSP
Responsible for health policy, the National Health
Service in Scotland, community care, and food safety.
Minister for Health and Community Care
Malcolm Chisholm MSP
Deputy to the Minister for Health and Community Care.
Tom McCabe MSP
Responsible for Parliamentary Affairs and the
management of Executive business in the Parliament
and Parliamentary Liaison. Supports the First Minister
and the Deputy First Minister in the co-ordination
of Executive policy, management of cross-cutting priorities
and overseeing strategic communications.
Deputy Minister for Parliament
Deputy to the Minister for Parliament. Particular
responsibility for the Parliamentary handling of the
legislative programme and management of cross-cutting
priorities. Liberal Democrat Business Manager
for Environment and Rural Development
Ross Finnie MSP
Responsible for policy in relation to the environment
and to rural development including agriculture, fisheries
Minister for Rural Development
Rhona Brankin MSP
Deputy to the Minister for Rural Development.
for Social Justice
Jackie Baillie MSP
Responsible for social inclusion and housing,
equality issues and the voluntary sector.
Minister for Social Justice
Margaret Curran MSP
Deputy to the Minister for Social Justice.
for Transport and Planning
Sarah Boyack MSP
Responsible for roads and transport.
Deputy Minister for Transport and Planning
Lewis MacDonald MSP
Minister for Sport, the Arts and Culture
Allan Wilson MSP
Responsible for sport, the arts, culture, architecture
and the built heritage.
The Law Officers are Colin Boyd QC (Lord Advocate)
and Neil Davidson (Solicitor General).
4. Scottish Parliament Committees
The Scottish Parliament has established a range of Committees
which are more powerful and proactive than the Committees
of the Westminster Parliament.
They fulfil the functions of both Westminster Standing
and Select Committees and are able to consider major policy
issues, hold Ministers and public agencies to account, and
scrutinise draft legislation. A key difference is that Scottish
Parliament Committees are able to initiate legislation.
The Committees are expected to liase closely with local
government, trade unions, business, civic bodies, community
organisations etc. Their role is particularly crucial in
terms of pre legislative scrutiny.
The allocation of Committee Chairs is broadly
in line with the share of MSPs a Party has in the Parliament.
The full Scottish Parliament Committee
Welsh (Scottish National Party)
Education, Culture and Sport Committee
Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Committee
Convener Alex Neil (Scottish National Party)
Equal Opportunities Committee
Convener Kate Mclean (Labour Party)
Henry (Labour Party)
Convener Mike Watson (Labour Party)
Health and Community Care Committee
Convener Margaret Smith (Liberal Democrat Party)
Convener Alasdair Morgan (Scottish National Party)
Convener Pauline McNeil (Labour Party)
Local Government Committee
Godman (Labour Party)
Tosh (Conservative Party)
Public Petitions Committee
McAllion (Labour Party)
Rural Development Committee
Social Justice Committee
Rumbles (Liberal Democrat Party)
Subordinate Legislation Committee
MacAskill (Scottish National Party)
Transport and the Environment Committee
Kerr (Labour Party)
5. Scottish Parliament Legislative Programme
The Scottish Executive is operating to an agenda based
on the Partnership for Scotland agreement drawn up
between the Scottish Labour Party and the Scottish Liberal
Democrats. This was the basis for the coalition formed shortly
after the 1999 elections.
In the first year of the parliament Bills were enacted
- Abolition of the feudal system of land tenure
- Local Government (ethical standards)
- Improvement in Scottish education
- Financial procedures and auditing
In the current parliamentary session the following legislation
is being introduced:
- Evidence (Sex Offences) Bill
- International Criminal Court Bill
6. Financial Arrangements
- The Scottish Executive & Parliament are broadly
financed on the same basis as the former Scottish Office.
- The total Scottish budget is £18.3 billion in 2000/01
rising to £22.1 billion in 2003/04 and covers expenditure
for all Scotland's devolved public services.
- Almost 50% of the budget goes on public sector pay,
the great bulk of which (over 90%) is spent on local government
and NHS pay.
- An annual expenditure statement and budget is prepared
by the Scottish Executive and is subject to parliamentary
- The amount of financial support to the Scottish Executive
and Parliament is determined by the Barnett formula –
that is, a block grant plus a share of identifiable UK
expenditure, variable according to population in Scotland.
- The Parliament is able to vary the basic rate of income
tax by up to 3p in the pound - this could raise approximately
£690 million per year in total. In addition Council Tax
raises £1.6 billion and non domestic rates £1.6 billion.
Therefore the total that the Scottish Executive could
raise is currently £4 billion per year.
- The Parliament also has the power to revue and implement
other forms of local taxation such as road tolls, tourists
7. Scottish Executive and Scottish Parliament Committee
The Scottish Executive and Scottish Parliament Committees
produces a range of Government documents, many of which
are responded to by UNISON Scotland.
Among the key documents UNISON Scotland has responded to
- Scottish Executive Consultation on the Ethical Standards
in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Bill
- The Scottish Compact with the Voluntary Sector in Scotland
All responses are posted on the UNISON Scotland web site.
Examples of recent responses are also on the web site.
8. Influencing the Public Policy Making Process
The new devolved political institutions of government present
a range of opportunities and challenges for UNISON Scotland
in influencing the public policy making process in Scotland.
We are seeking to maximise our influence through:
- Meetings with Ministers of the Scottish Executive.
- Presentations to Scottish Parliament Committees
- Participating in membership of Scottish Executive and
Scottish Parliament Committee expert panels and
- Developing links with individual MSPs
and with all political parties in the Parliament.
- Discussions with the Scottish Executive
on service group issues eg through the Scottish Joint
Council and NHS Partnership Forum.
- Developing our links with Scottish Executive
civil servants including Special Advisers.
- Inputting to pre-legislative scrutiny.
- Responding to Government consultation documents.
- Supporting policy development in think tanks
such as the Centre for Scottish Public Policy.
- Using membership of civic bodies such as the
Scottish Civic Forum to build alliances and coalitions
with civic Scotland, including user groups.
- Using the opportunity to present petitions and
- Working with the STUC and colleagues in other
unions on issues of common concern.
- Linking up with the UNISON APF Group of MSPs
– which includes a dozen MSPs including leading Cabinet
Members. And through the Scottish Labour Party's Scottish
Policy Forum, local policy forums and Scottish
- Having a high media profile for UNISON as the
lead spokesperson for Scotland's public services
In the run up to the 1999 Scottish General Election and
beyond UNISON launched Serving Scotland – A Manifesto for
Scotland's Public Services and a series of accompanying
Minifestos on Promoting Equality, Women, Funding Public
Services, etc. Serving Scotland was a positive campaign
aimed at setting the agenda for the new Parliament and promoting
9. Steps taken to rise to the challenge
Within the limited resources at our disposal UNISON Scotland
has sought to address the opportunities and challenges of
devolution – at both a lay and staff level.
Structural changes include:
The Scottish Committee has revised and streamline its policy-making
procedures in Scotland in order to effectively input to
the work of the Scottish Executive and Scottish Parliament.
It has set up policy pools in the following areas:
Communities (local government, social inclusion, housing
Health and Community Care
Children, education, culture and sport
Enterprise and Lifelong Learning
Transport and Environment and Rural Affairs
The remit of the Policy Pools is follows:
- Monitor the work of Scottish Ministers and Committees
- Consider UNISON Scotland policy
- Communicate and consult regularly with Branches,
Service Groups, Self Organised Groups and the various
parts of the organisation
- Report to the Scottish Committee and Service Groups
- Liase directly with the appropriate Minister and/or
Members of the Policy Pools have been drawn from the Scottish
Committee, Service Groups, Self Organised Groups etc. The
composition of the pools varies according to the workload
of each and they are serviced by a member of the Scottish
They operate on the principle of consensus and are subordinate
to the processes in rule ie the Scottish Council, Scottish
Committees, Service Groups etc. They facilitate and co-ordinate
policy development by circulating drafts and heading papers
Policy and Information Team
The emergence of the Scottish Government has also prompted
a review of the way in which UNISON Scotland organises its
A Policy and Information Team has been set up which has
the role of co-ordinating the union's work around public
policy making in relation to the new Parliament and Executive.
It produces a weekly Scottish Parliament News which is circulated
to Policy Pool members and placed on the UNISON Scotland
The team will also provides practical assistance to negotiators
at a Scottish and local level.
The Policy and Information Team includes our Scottish Research
Officer, Scottish Communications Officer, Scottish Information
Development Officer, Scottish Legal Officer and Scottish
Women's Officer, Organising Assistant and secretarial staff.
10. Impact on Collective Bargaining in Scotland
There are major implications for pay and related matters.
Of the Parliament's available budget of some £18.3 billion,
almost 50% ends up in public sector pay.
Pay and conditions are now determined by the autonomous
Scottish Joint Council for Local Government Employees and
there is a new Scottish National Agreement on Pay and Conditions
of Service covering
- pay and grading
- working time
Separate pay claims are submitted and separate pay awards
made. In 1999/2000 local government staff in Scotland received
a 3.3% pay increase – more than colleagues elsewhere in
the UK. Last year there was protracted industrial action
which resulted in a 14.2% award over a 4 year period.
There are also separate Scottish negotiations for water
and sewerage staff, craft workers, chief officials and teachers.
The White Paper 'Scotland's Parliament' and the Scotland
Act 1998 supported devolution of pay and conditions within
the National Health Service in Scotland. Although this has
been possible in principle the practise so far has been
for pay awards in Scotland to follow those elsewhere in
Since the 1997 there have been new initiatives such as
the NHS Scottish Partnership Forum, involving employers
and unions in Scotland. The remit of the NHS Scottish Partnership
- equal opportunities
- health and safety
- familly friendly policies)
- education and training
- approach to employment legislation ( EC legislation,
Fairness at Work)
- best practice
- partnership and involvement of staff in decision making
Higher and Further Education
There have been significant changes to the structure of
higher and further education in Scotland in recent years.
The Government have created the Scottish Higher Education
Funding Council (SHEFC) and the Scottish Further Education
Funding Council (SFEFC). These changes will inevitably impact
on the bargaining arrangements in the longer term