New guidelines on ministerial aides

Changes introduced as part of updated code.

MSPs who act as Parliamentary Liaison Officers (PLOs) for Scottish Government ministers will no longer be able to serve on the principal committee which scrutinises the portfolio to which they are attached.

The requirement is being introduced as part of an updated Ministerial Code, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The code provides guidance for ministers on how they should act in order to uphold the highest standards of propriety in public office. The First Minister routinely issues a new and revised edition of the code near the beginning of each new parliamentary session.

Announcing the move, the First Minister said:

“MSPs who serve as aides to ministers do a vital job in terms of the required ‎liaison between Parliament and Government.

"‎As such it is important that they are able to carry out that function with the full confidence of both ministers and the parliamentary committees on which they serve.

"I believe that the Parliamentary Liaison Officers who are currently in post fulfil that requirement admirably, and there has been no evidence of any conflict of interest.

"At the same time, I have listened carefully to the case made by those calling for change, and so the updated guidelines I am publishing today will remove even the perception of any conflict of interest in the role of PLOs.

“The change is part of the updated Ministerial Code, which sets the highest standards of propriety and transparency for Scottish Government ministers.

“I will continue to lead by example in following the letter and spirit of this code, and I expect that all ministers will do likewise.”

Notes to editors

The necessary changes to membership of individual committees will be brought forward for Parliament’s consideration when Parliament returns after the recess.

Find out more about the Scottish Ministerial Code‎


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