Smith Commission meets for the first time today

Lord Smith of Kelvin’s commission to look at more powers for the Scottish Parliament is to hold its first full meeting today.

Representatives of Scotland’s main political parties will congregate at the Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh later to try to find a consensus on further devolution.

Proposals have been made by the SNP, Conservatives, Scottish Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Greens.

Lord Smith said: “Having spoken to all of the parties individually, I believe the will is there to reach agreement.”

Prime Minister David Cameron established the commission after voters in Scotland rejected independence in September’s referendum, to meet the timetable for further devolution laid out in a cross-party pledge before the vote.

Members of the public can submit views to help guide the Commission’s considerations, before 5pm on 31 October. They can do so by emailing the commission or writing to The Smith Commission, 7th Floor, 144 Morrison Street, EH3 8EX.

Recent publications from the Parliament & Government

  • Delivering for Scotland: The Government’s Programme for Scotland 2010-2011 – Annual publication which lays out the government’s legislative programme for the coming year, including 10 bill proposals designed to protect public services and support businesses and families through a period of economic uncertainty
  • Higher Education: Qualifications, Quality Assurance and Assessment (SPICe Briefing 10/61) – paper provides a summary of the qualifications on offer at higher education institutions in Scotland. Also explains the differences between the types of institutions and how they are assessed
  • Recommendations of the Commission on Scottish Devolution Regarding Scottish Parliament Procedures (SP Paper 490) – 5th Report from the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee – the new UK Government intends to implement recommendations of the final report of the Commission on Scottish Devolution (Calman Commission) therefore the Committee has laid out proposals to Parliament on how this should be implemented in the areas of parliamentary procedure
  • Review of Class Size Control Mechanisms: Report of the Working Group – this group analysed current practice in Scotland, which is thought to be too complex, and compared this against practice in other countries. Guidance is provided on how best to set class sizes, but the decision should rest with education authorities who can make informed decisions at school level
  • Scottish Health Survey 2009: Vol. 1 Main Report / Vol. 2 Technical Report – fifth report commissioned by the Scottish Government Health Directorates. Results of the survey are presented in a 2 volume report and include data on general health and wellbeing, dental health, physical activity and obesity
  • Spending Implications of Demographic Change (Financial Scrutiny Unit Briefing 10/60) – paper looks at measures which could be taken now to prepare for sound public spending in the future. For example, health services and pensions are under threat due to our ageing population in Scotland
  • Troublesome Youth Groups, Gangs and Knife Carrying in Scotland – research report regarding knife crime in Scotland, and recommendations for changes to existing policy
  • Unemployment (SPICe Briefing 10/59) – briefing provides latest claimant count data on number of unemployed in Scotland, by Scottish Parliament constituency areas