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Simplify rules scrutiny, says committee

24 May 2006

MSPs have called for reforms to the way that secondary rules and regulations come on to the Holyrood statute book.

The Scottish Parliament's subordinate legislation committee has requested an overhaul of the way in which secondary legislation is brought in. A draft report from the committee says the current process is unwieldy and complex. A simplified system, it goes on, would benefit Holyrood, help ministers and other workers.

The committee has recommended that the Scotland Act 1998 (Transitional and Transitory Provisions) (Statutory Instruments) Order 1998 be replaced by a Scottish Statutory Instruments Bill.

It also pushes for improvements in the timescales allowed for Holyrood committees to examine regulations, and a simpler procedure which would apply uniformly to all Scottish statutory instruments.

Committee convener Sylvia Jackson said: "Our draft report highlights the important opportunity available to the Scottish Parliament to lead the way in the scrutiny of subordinate legislation. We want to work with the parliament's committees and the Executive to improve scrutiny and to develop a system that is streamlined and transparent.

"Secondary legislation is often seen as the poor relation to primary legislation, and yet this is vitally important as it brings into force rules and regulations that impact on all of us in various ways."

The committee's report can be read at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/subleg/reports-06/sur06-21-00.htm .