Scotland’s Commissioner Landscape: A strategic approach

Closed 11 Mar 2024

Opened 10 Jan 2024

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Call for Views

The Committee welcomes responses to any of the following ten questions.

Closing date: 11 March 2024

Commissioner landscape

The Commissioner landscape has evolved since devolution, with seven commissioners in operation and one more recently being agreed to by Parliament. Several additional commissioners are now also being proposed.

1. Why is the Commissioner model chosen over other approaches, such as a public body or government department, and why do you consider there has been such a growth in Commissioners in recent years?

2. What are the implications of this growth on Scotland’s finances, other organisations and wider society?

3. Currently, there is a mix of regulatory, investigatory, rights-based, and policy-focused Commissioners in Scotland.

  • What should the role of Commissioners be and which should report directly to Parliament (and why)?
  • Looking across the entire model of Commissioners, do you consider it to be a coherent approach? What, if any, improvements could be made to the Commissioner landscape in the future to ensure a coherent and strategic approach? 

4. Criteria were developed by the Session 2 Finance Committee to help guide decisions on whether to create a new commissioner. These criteria are considered by the Scottish Government and Members when proposing Commissioner related bills.  

How are the criteria working in practice and where do you consider improvements can be made to the criteria, its use, or its status?

Governance, accountability and scrutiny

The Commissioners under consideration as part of this inquiry are entirely separate to Government. The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body provides governance and oversight, and Commissioners are accountable to Parliament, including through scrutiny by the relevant Parliamentary committees.

5. Are the existing governance and oversight arrangements adequate and, if not, what improvements are required?

6. How appropriate are existing lines of accountability and how does the process work in practice? What other accountability models should be considered?

7. To what extent is the current model of Parliamentary committee scrutiny of the performance and effectiveness of how Commissioners exercise their functions appropriate?

Value for money and effectiveness of current approach

8. Does the current Commissioner model in Scotland deliver value for money?

9. Are the processes for setting and scrutinising the budgets of each Commissioner adequate?

10. To what extent is there overlap and duplication of functions across Commissioners, and across other organisations in Scotland and how can this be avoided? 

Making a Submission

Before making a submission, please read our Privacy Notice about submitting your views to a Committee. This tells you about how we process personal data. 

Please note that in most cases your submission will be published on the Scottish Parliament's website and may be quoted in the Committee's report or in Committee meetings (which are public and broadcast). 

The deadline to submit your views is 11 March 2024.

We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. Due to the time required to process and analyse evidence, late submissions will only be accepted with the agreement of the Committee Clerk.


  • FPA