The glossary provides definitions for parliamentary terms to help you understand the Parliament and how it works. The terms are arranged alphabetically so select a letter to find the term you would like to have explained.
Colloquial terms, derived from Westminster, that are used to denote those MSPs who are not Ministers, party leaders or party spokespersons. Sometimes also used of all MSPs other than Ministers and Presiding Officers.
A population-based formula used to determine changes in each devolved administration’s spending allocation from the UK Parliament. Named after Joel Barnett, Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the late 1970s.
A draft Act introduced into Parliament.
bill as amended at Stage 2
The print of a bill as it was amended at Stage 2.
bill as passed
The print of a bill as it was passed by the Parliament, before it receives royal assent.
Sometimes called the Assigned Budget or Scottish Block. Strictly that part of the grant paid to the devolved administration that is covered by the Barnett formula – in Scotland’s case at present, all spending within the Departmental Expenditure Limit. Often used to refer either to all funding received from Westminster, or to refer to the entire Scottish Budget.
British-Irish Council (BIC)
An institution established as part of the 1998 Belfast (‘Good Friday’) Agreement to promote consultation and co-operation between the British and Irish Governments, the devolved administrations, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. More information is available on the BIC website (http://www.britishirishcouncil.org/).
The office responsible for producing and distributing all the Parliament's audio-visual output and overseeing the service provided through the Parliamentary Broadcasting Unit.
budget (or budgeting) process
The three-stage annual process for the parliamentary consideration of the Scottish Executive’s expenditure plans.
An Act authorising the Scottish Executive's expenditure for the coming financial year.
An Executive bill for a Budget Act.
The documents that accompany a budget bill.
See Parliamentary Bureau.
Business Bulletin (BB)
A daily publication containing details of current and future business.
Business Information Technology (BIT)
The office responsible for providing the Parliament with technological infrastructure, systems, services and applications.
Colloquial term for the MSP appointed by his or her party leader to be that party’s representative on the Parliamentary Bureau and to organise that party’s contributions to debates and other parliamentary business. Equivalent to a 'chief whip' in Westminster. Groups formed under rule 5.2.2 may also have a business manager.
The agenda for parliamentary business.
The method of filling a constituency vacancy arising during a parliamentary session.