Scottish Human Rights Commission launches

The Scottish Human Rights Commission launched at the beginning of December 2008, with Professor Alan Miller as its first chair.

The other members of the Commission are Professor Kay Hampton, Ms Shelagh McCall and Mr John McNeill.  The Commission’s first act is the publication of a consultation on its role, with responses being sought by 31 March 2009.

The Commission is co-located with Scottish office of the United Kingdom Equality and Human Rights Commission, at Optima Building, 58 Robertson Street, Glasgow G2 8DU.  This may help in establishing the respective roles of the two bodies, since the UK Commission makes some play on its website of its position in Scotland and its Scottish Commissioner, Morag Alexander.  

One issue the Commission may have to face early on is a renewed onslaught on quangos and “tsars” in Scotland.  The Scottish Parliament Corporate Body is of the view that six currently in existence – the Office of the Ombudsman, Information Commissioner, the Standards Commissioner, the Children's Commissioner, and the Public Appointments Commissioner, as well as the Scottish Commission for Human Rights – could be reduced to three, one responsible for complaints and standards, the second with questions of rights, while the Information Commissioner would be retained as a separate post.  The current commissions employ 96 staff in total.  The Cabinet Finance Secretary John Swinney thinks the idea has merit.  See the Review of SPCB Supported Bodies on the Scottish Parliament website.