Section 4 — Promoting and safeguarding rights

Part of Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:28 pm on 26 March 2003.

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Photo of Pauline McNeill Pauline McNeill Labour 3:28, 26 March 2003

I congratulate the Education, Culture and Sport Committee on what is a good piece of work. Initially, I had a bit of difficulty with the setting up of yet another commissioner's post by the Parliament, but after reading the bill, I believe genuinely that a good job has been done.

My amendment 2 seeks assurances from the committee about the context in which the commissioner would review law and practice. I am less concerned about practices in relation to children and more concerned about reviewing the law.

Whenever we set up a commission, which is an unelected body, the Parliament should consider carefully the commission's role and how it relates to the role of elected people. I want to ensure that the review of the law provided for in the bill happens in some kind of context.

I appreciate that it is clear in section 10 that there should be an annual report to Parliament. I see the connection between sections 4 and 10, but I would like the committee to reassure me that those two sections should be read in tandem and that any responsibility that the children's commissioner has for reviewing the law recognises the role of Parliament and elected members ultimately to decide what is best for the law relating to children, despite the fact that the commissioner has a role in that, too.

If I get the reassurances I seek, I am prepared to withdraw the amendment.

I move amendment 2.