The glossary provides definitions for parliamentary terms to help you understand the Parliament and how it works.  The terms are arranged alphabetically so select a letter to find the term you would like to have explained.


Facilities Management Office

The office responsible for managing the Parliament's accommodation, providing various support services and advising on health and safety and environmental issues.

fallen bill

If the Parliament does not agree to the general principles of a public bill after debate at Stage 1, then the bill falls. In the case of a private bill, if the Parliament does not agree to the general principles after debate at the Preliminary Stage, or does not consider that the bill should proceed as a private bill, then the bill falls.

Festival of Politics

A politically-themed event held over several days by the Scottish Parliament in August.

Final Stage

The stage for final consideration of a private bill and a decision on whether it should be passed.

Finance and Constitution Committee

A mandatory committee of the Parliament, of 7 members, the remit of which is to consider and report on the following (and any additional matter added under Rule 6.1.5A)—

(a) any report or other document laid before the Parliament by members of the Scottish Government containing proposals for, or budgets of, public revenue or expenditure or proposals for the making of a Scottish rate resolution, taking into account any report or recommendations concerning such documents made to them by any other committee with power to consider such documents or any part of them; (b) any report made by a committee setting out proposals concerning public revenue or expenditure; (c) Budget Bills; and (d) any other matter relating to or affecting the revenue or expenditure of the Scottish Administration or other monies payable into or expenditure payable out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund. (e) constitutional matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution.

Name changed from Finance Committee to Finance and Constitution Committee on 29 September 2016. The committee must be established within 21 sitting days of a Scottish Parliament election.

Finance Office

An office that undertakes a range of functions, such as processing invoices, setting and monitoring budgets, and preparing the Parliament’s annual accounts.

Financial Issues Advisory Group (FIAG)

A group established by the Scottish Office in February 1998 to advise it and the Consultative Steering Group on procedures and practices for the Scottish Parliament in the handling of financial issues. Its report was published in January 1999.

financial memorandum

An accompanying document to a public bill setting out best estimates of the bill’s costs on the Scottish Administration, local authorities and others.

financial resolution

A financial resolution is required for bills which have or which are likely to have certain financial implications (as set out in rule 9.12.3). This is a resolution of the Parliament expressing its agreement to those implications. The motion for a resolution can be moved only by a Minister. If a bill requires a financial resolution, no further proceedings beyond Stage 1 can be taken until it has been agreed to, and the bill will fall if no resolution is passed within 6 months of the completion of Stage 1.

financial year

A year beginning 1 April, for the purposes of financial business.

First Minister

The head of the Scottish Executive.

First Minister’s Question Time (FMQT)

A period when MSPs ask questions of the First Minister at a meeting of the Parliament.

First Minister's Question

See First Minister's Question Time.

first past the post

Voting system where the candidate who obtains the largest number of votes is elected.

Forth Crossing Bill Committee

An ad hoc committee of four members established to look at the Forth Crossing Bill.

frontbench, frontbencher

A colloquial term to denote those MSPs who are Ministers or the spokespersons of opposition parties.

Futures Forum

A Scottish Parliament initiative to develop strategic thinking on the issues which will shape Scotland's future.

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