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About the P&I Team Briefings Home | Responses | PFI Index | Policy Guide

Current Scottish Parliament Issues August 2004


Scottish Committee 17 August 2004

Current Scottish Parliament Issues

This paper summarises the main current parliamentary issues of interest to UNISON Scotland.


There are 16 bills currently being considered by the Parliament. A further 31 private member bills have been published. The main ones of direct interest to UNISON include:

  • NHS Reform Bill

Awaiting assent. UNISON broadly supportive. Issues around public involvement, Community Health Partnerships and GP staffs. See P&I Briefing and evidence to Health Committee. Summary of bill progress published and significant improvements include statutory recognition of staff governance.

  • Local Governance Bill

Awaiting assent. Support electoral reform proposals. Go further than bill on age qualifications and politically restricted posts. See UNISON response and P&I Briefing.

  • Water Services Bill

Bill published. Welcome restrictions on common carriage and domestic competition. Concern over the impact of retail competition in non-domestic settings. Links to Finance Committee inquiry on water charges and STUC water campaign. Bill will include changes to regulatory structure following critical Finance Committee report. Invited to give verbal evidence at stage 1 consideration in September.

  • Anti-Social Behaviour Bill

Stage 2 completed. General concern over policy direction, specific concerns over impact on Children's Hearings (now subject to separate consultation) and social work.

  • Emergency Workers

Stage 1. Submitted written and verbal evidence to Committee. Want the bill to go further than proposed.

  • Private Members Bills

Active support for three current bills:

Breastfeeding (Scotland) Bill: Introduced in December 2003. GPF funding for social impact research and parliamentary support. Submitted evidence.

Prohibition of Smoking in Regulated Areas (S) Bill: Introduced February 2004. Evidence to Stage 1. Scottish Executive consultation may result in this bill being incorporated into an Executive Bill.

Direct Elections to Health Boards: Support the principle. Details in public consultation paper.

Other private member bills with significant UNISON interest lodged but not yet introduced include:

  • Warm Homes
  • Civil Registered Partnerships (dealt with by Sewell motion)
  • Free School Meals
  • Third Party Planning Rights (Also subject to Executive consultation)
  • Abolition of NHS Prescription Charges
  • Abolition of Council Tax
  • Community Based Drug Facilities
  • Green Transport


There are 36 current Scottish Executive consultations. Those with significant UNISON interest include:

  • Smoking in public places: Range of options including a ban in public places.
  • Implementation of EU procurement directives
  • National Standards for Dental Services: Need to expand NHS dentistry and role of UNISON members including hygienists and DSA's.
  • Mental health care: three consultations on regulations and practice.
  • Developing a Framework for Nursing Roles
  • Development plans & third party rights: Implications for planning departments and energy service group.
  • Regulation of health and social care support staff: extending regulation to support staff.
  • Reducing reoffending: Correctional agency removing criminal justice social work from local government.
  • Childrens Hearings review: Potential changes to the system.
  • Investing in Water Services: investment plans to 2014
  • Paying for Water Services: the principles of charging for water services
  • Review of marches and parades: Publicity around orange parades but could impact on demonstrations etc.
  • Governance and accountability in the FE sector: Board governance of financial and other procedures
  • Better outcomes for older people: Joint approaches to the management of this group.

In addition there are committee inquiries. Issues of significant UNISON interest include:

  • Impact of university top up fees in England.
  • Renew able energy report critical of emphasis on wind power.
  • Relocation policy report critical of Executive policy
  • Water charges report critical of WIC, influenced Bill.

Other Parliamentary Issues

  • Recent UNISON MSP debate briefings published on: renewable energy, reoffending, social work, nursery nurses, health improvement, NHS workforce, assaults on staff, anti social behaviour and water quality.

Dave Watson
21 July 2004


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