Before section 87

Part of Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:45 am on 8th March 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Robert Brown Robert Brown Liberal Democrat 10:45 am, 8th March 2007

I thank members for their welcome for the important and central amendment 17.

All sorts of organisations are obliged to submit an annual report to the Parliament. Most of those reports are not subject to debate or detailed consideration by committees, but some are. The reports provide committees with an opportunity to have a structured debate on the operation of the agency on the basis of solid information from officials.

During the introduction of the legislation, there will be consultation on the level of the bar, the level of the fees and the retrospection issue. On-going work will be done with the voluntary sector, stakeholder agencies and the next education committee on the details of those issues. There will be fairly close scrutiny of a series of aspects relating to the operation of the scheme.

Beyond that, it is open to members to hold ministers to account by way of parliamentary questions and press releases and, if the matter was felt to be important, through parliamentary debates. As well as the regular annual reports, there is a hillock of ways in which members can hold ministers to account.

The Parliament's education committee will have a central role in that work, as it is the committee that has the greatest expertise in the detail of the operation of the scheme. I am fairly certain that, given the information and experience that the current Education Committee has gained—indeed, that I and other ministers have gained—it will be vigilant in taking forward any concerns that members might have in that regard. That ought to provide solid reassurances on the questions that Donald Gorrie raised.

Amendment 17 agreed to.