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Framework annual report of 2009-10; regrets that the number of antisocial behaviour orders (ASBOs) granted fell from 437 in 2006-07 to 249 in 2009-10 despite the number of complaints increasing, and calls on the Scottish Government to adopt a more proactive attitude in tackling antisocial behaviour and to listen to the views of local people and support a policy of giving community councils and properly constituted residents groups the power to apply to local authorities for an ASBO.” At Decision Time, the amendment was disagreed to: For 42, Against 73, Abstentions 0.


In the name of John Lamont (Con),


leave out from “the progress made” to end and insert: “that, while progress is being made across a range of areas in improving community safety, the public must continue to be encouraged to report antisocial behaviour and that where examples of good practice exist these should be replicated as widely as possible.” At Decision Time, the amendment was agreed to: For 71, Against 42, Abstentions 2.


In the name of Robert Brown (LD),


insert at end: “; believes that local policing is key to community safety; notes the work under way through the Sustainable Policing Project on protecting frontline policing and the delivery of outcomes for communities, and believes that community safety is unlikely to benefi t from the establishment of a single Scottish police force.” At Decision Time, the amendment was disagreed to: For 11, Against 104, Abstentions 0. The motion, as amended, was agreed to: For 73, Against 42, Abstentions 0.


Members’ Business Debate: Support for Children in Family and Friends Care The following was debated in the


name of Johann Lamont (Lab): That the Parliament notes that there is estimated to be a minimum of 13,400 children in kinship (family and friends) care in Glasgow and throughout Scotland; understands that three out of four of these families are living in poverty and that kinship care is frequently the best form of early intervention as well as a longer-


66 Holyrood January 2011


A complete round up of all forthcoming paliamentary business


Telephone 0131 272 2114 editor@holyrood.com


term option for children requiring non-parental care, particularly for those who have experienced multiple traumas; notes that kinship care is estimated to save the Scottish Government and local authorities £536 million per year in reduced care costs; considers with regret that the Scottish Government, the UK Government and Scottish local authorities have not yet been able to ensure provision of adequate fi nancial, educational and other supports for children looked after by kinship carers; considers that there is currently insuffi cient joint working across all levels of government, and believes that kinship care provision is best developed with the involvement of kinship carers themselves as part of the decision-making process and that this would ensure that all policies are based on the needs of the child and that there is no discrimination of kinship carers based on their legal status or postcode.


European and External Relations Committee


The Convener of the European and


External Relations Committee, Irene Oldfather MSP, opened the debate by outlining the key recommendations of the committee’s report into the Lisbon Treaty and its subsequent activities. Oldfather outlined the relevance of the treaty to the Parliament, stating: “…it formally recognises the principle of territorial cohesion. It also introduces the principle of consultation of regional Parliaments, enhances the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality and invites greater engagement from the regions of Europe. Critically, the test of the changes lies in the answer to the question: will they enable us, here in the Scottish Parliament, to do our job better? I think that they will.” The convener outlined the subsidiarity mechanism, or early- warning system, that allows member- state Parliament’s to block European legislation if it does not accord with the principle of subsidiarity, stating it offered “the real prospect of improved


democratic oversight of the EU’s decision-making process.” Key to the committee’s recommendations is the need for a Parliament-wide strategy for EU engagement and a new approach to scrutiny with improved mechanisms for representation of any policy area that might be of importance to the people of Scotland.


The committee is also recommending


to Parliament that, following the evaluation of a pilot to begin in January 2011, Standing Orders are changed in time for the start of the new session to allow European reporters to be appointed on the Parliament’s subject committees. The reporters would ensure committees have “an overview of all proposals that come out of Brussels and an opportunity to intervene early in the process, if that is desired or required.” During the debate, Iain Smith MSP suggested this role could be played by the Deputy Conveners of Committees. Ms Oldfather concluded her opening


remarks by saying “…radical change is needed to make the Parliament fi t for purpose in the context of European scrutiny, and that we should embed in the Parliament a process that will realise that aspiration. The Scottish Parliament does not want to be an observer on the European stage; we have a great deal to contribute and we want to be a participant. The committee’s proposals prove that Scotland can lead in ensuring transparency, accountability and equality in relation to the legislation that we review and produce.” In responding to the convener, the Minister for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP said: “I am encouraged that a key recommendation of the report is for the Scottish Parliament to take on a more effective role in the EU policy-development process through a reinforced Scottish Parliament European strategy. The strategy involves an expanded role for the subject committees. That is a necessary step following the changes that the Lisbon Treaty has introduced. Through the extension of shared and supporting competences, more of us will need an increased awareness of Europe.” The minister also announced “…


that the Scottish Government’s new explanatory memoranda—


EM—management system is now operational and will be piloted with the Scottish Parliament over the coming months. The new system will help to facilitate the Parliament’s new responsibility to scrutinise European Commission proposals.” She then outlined the particular


importance of freedom, security and justice as Scottish Government EU priorities, highlighting that the UK is the only member state that contains two legislative jurisdictions and justice systems.


All MSPs who spoke in the debate


were supportive of the committee’s aims to help the Parliament develop early intelligence gathering and have robust systems in place to do this. Many MSPs acknowledged the work of the late Neil MacCormickhere.. MSPs supported the sentiment of Bill Kidd’s comments: “We cannot afford to fi nd ourselves at the fag end of processes that affect the day-to-day lives of Scotland’s citizens. That would leave us as mere administrators of the decisions of others. Let us therefore ensure that our Scottish Parliament is as proactive as possible in the implementation of the treaty, to the benefi t of Scotland.” In concluding the debate, the


committee’s Deputy Convener Sandra White MSP said: “Sometimes when we talk about Europe, people do not quite understand what we are talking about. It is our duty to ensure that they do… We are Europeans, so we should behave like Europeans and engage with the European Community. It is a good move for the Scottish Parliament that recognises that Europe plays a huge part not just in the lives of Scots but in the Scottish Parliament. I commend the committee’s report to the Parliament.” The motion was passed without a division: Motion agreed to, That the Parliament notes the


European and External Relations Committee’s 4th Report 2010 (Session 3), Inquiry into the Impact of the Treaty of Lisbon on Scotland (SP Paper 469) and agrees to the introduction of a Parliament-wide strategy for European Union engagement and scrutiny, including the introduction on a pilot basis, and, if successful, permanently, of an early warning system for EU legislative proposals, as outlined in Annexe B to the Report.


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