Relationship with the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) is the group of MSPs responsible for ensuring that the Parliament has the property, staff and services it needs to function. It also nominates Scotland's parliamentary commissioners for appointment.

The SPCB includes members from all the main political parties. The SPCB nominates the Scottish Information Commissioner for appointment, and since the beginning has provided the Commissioner's funding and approved decisions to appoint new staff. However, the Scottish Parliamentary Commissions and Commissioners etc. Act 2010 gave the SPCB additional powers which are explained here.

The Commissioner's use of resources

The SPCB approves the Commissioner's annual budget. It also has to agree to any fees which the Commissioner pays to external advisers e.g. legal advisers. The SPCB approves decisions to appoint staff and their terms and conditions including pension arrangements. Any decision the Commissioner makes to buy or dispose of land must be approved by the SPCB, and the Commissioner must comply with any direction from the SPCB on where to locate offices.

In addition, the SPCB can direct the Commissioner on sharing premises, staff, services or other resources with other commissioners and ombudsmen in Scotland who are also funded by the SPCB (or any other public body).

Strategic planning and reporting

The Commissioner must submit a four-year strategic plan to the SPCB and the Keeper of the Records of Scotland for comment, and can also seek comments from others, including a parliamentary committee. View current and past strategic and operational plans.

The Commissioner must also lay an annual report before parliament. The SPCB can direct the Commissioner on the form and content of this report. View annual reports of the Scottish Information Commissioner.

Terms and conditions, and leaving office

The SPCB determines the Commissioner's terms and conditions, and approves any other post held by the Commissioner while in office. The SPCB can recommend that the Commissioner is removed from office if it thinks that the Commissioner has broken his/her terms and conditions. The Commissioner may also be removed from office if the Scottish Parliament has lost confidence in his/her willingness, suitability or ability to function. In both cases the final decision lies with the Scottish Parliament and two thirds of all MSPs would have to agree.

The Commissioner will serve a single fixed six year term, and it will not be possible for a commissioner to be reappointed after that. For a period of time after leaving office, the Commissioner must get the SPCB's approval for certain appointments. These include working in a Scottish public authority, or working for the new Commissioner.


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