Background

The Conveners Group (CG) was constituted in 1999 by the Presiding Officer to provide an informal forum where Committee Conveners could meet to discuss matters of mutual interest and to facilitate liaison between the Committees, the Parliamentary Bureau and the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body. The Group is chaired by the Presiding Officer.

On 19 December 2002, the Group was formally constituted and given a remit and powers under Standing Orders.

The following section from the Standing Orders sets out the functions and procedures of the Conveners Group:

Chapter 6A: The Conveners Group

Rule 6A.1 Members of the Conveners Group

1. There shall be a Conveners Group which shall consist of the Presiding Officer and the convener of each mandatory or subject committee.

Rule 6A.2 The Conveners Group

2. The functions of the Conveners Group shall be—

(a) to consider and make recommendations in connection with the operation of committees;

(b) to report to and be consulted by the Parliamentary Bureau on questions regarding competence under Rule 6.13;

(c) to report to and be consulted by the Parliamentary Bureau on any decision on joint consideration by committees under Rule 6.14;

(d) to decide with the Parliamentary Bureau on the approval of the place in Scotland of a committee meeting in accordance with Rule 12.3.2;

(e) to decide with the Parliamentary Bureau on the approval of travel by a committee member outwith the United Kingdom in accordance with Rule 12.10; and

(f) to refer matters to the Parliamentary Bureau, a committee or the Parliamentary corporation where it considers it appropriate to do so.

2. The Conveners Group shall not be regarded as a committee for the purpose of these Rules.

Rule 6A.3 Procedure of the Conveners Group

1. The Presiding Officer shall convene and chair meetings of the Conveners Group.

2. The Conveners Group shall normally meet in private.

3. The Conveners Group shall not consider any business unless the number of members of the Group who are present is 5 or more and, subject to paragraph 3A, the members present include representatives of 3 or more political parties.

3A. Where—

(a) the membership of the Conveners Group is drawn from 3 or fewer political parties; and

(b) any of those political parties has only one member on the Conveners Group, the requirement that 3 or more political parties be represented is reduced to 2 or more political parties.

4. Matters to be decided by the Conveners Group require the agreement of all members who are present.

5. The Conveners Group may appoint one of its members (referred to as a “Conveners Group reporter”) to report to it on matters relating to the functions of the Conveners Group. The Conveners Group may appoint different Conveners Group reporters to report to it upon different matters.

6. A deputy Presiding Officer may attend any meeting of the Conveners Group and may participate in the proceedings.

7. The Conveners Group may invite members who are not members of the Conveners Group to attend a meeting of the Conveners Group and those persons may participate in the meeting.