Clearer justification is needed for reforms contained within the National Library of Scotland Bill, according to a report published today by the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee.
In its Stage 1 Report, the Committee asks the Scottish Government for a clearer justification for including the ministerial power of direction in the Bill and an explanation as to how the Bill could more accurately state how and when those powers would be used.
As it stands, the powers extend to the promotion of collaboration with other libraries and information services, and of the diversity of those accessing the collections.
The Bill seeks to bring the National Library of Scotland’s (NLS) governance arrangements, enacted in 1925, in line with other public bodies.
However, the Committee heard evidence from NLS that the proposed power of direction was unclear.
Committee Convener Stewart Maxwell MSP said:
“The Committee welcomes the Bill which provides a long overdue overhaul of the National Library of Scotland’s existing governance arrangements, many of which were unwieldy and out of step with a modern-day organisation.
“Whilst the Committee is supportive of the Bill, there must be a clearer explanation about the precise nature of the powers of ministerial direction and how these would work in practice.”
During its consideration of the Bill, the Committee also heard evidence about proposals to reduce the number of NLS board members, as well as information about the performance measures to be put in place as a result of the Bill.
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