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Don't reduce number of tsars, says Standards Commissioner

20 January 2009

The position of Standards Commissioner for the Scottish Parliament should not be abolished, according to the man currently doing the job.

Dr Jim Dyer, said the proposal to merge his post with another could be seen as a move to cut down on the scrutiny of MSPs’ conduct. MSPs, he added, had to be policed by someone with authority.

The Scottish Government is proposing to reduce the number of publicly-funded Scottish commissioners, or “tsars”, from six to three.

Under the proposals, the Standards Commissioner would be incorporated into a single new complaints and standards body. The other bodies would be a commission dealing with rights, and the Information Commissioner’s office.

Dr Dyer, who retires shortly after six years in post, was giving evidence today to a Holyrood committee looking into the issue.

Scotland’s current tsars, and bodies exercising such functions, are the Office of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, the Scottish Information Commissioner, the Standards Commissioner, the Children's Commissioner, the Public Appointments Commissioner, and the Scottish Commission for Human Rights. Together they employ 96 people.

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