Decision taking and voting

59. In practice, committees take many decisions by consensus and votes are relatively unusual except at Stage 2 of a Bill.

60. It is, however, for the convener to decide the time at which members should take a decision on any item of business and to decide whether to proceed to a division.

61. If there is a division, members vote by a show of hands unless a member has asked for a roll-call vote and the convener agrees to that request. Requests for roll-call votes are unusual and the vast majority of divisions are by show of hands. Conveners should encourage members to be clear in the way that they are voting and to keep their hands raised until the clerk has had the opportunity of counting and recording the vote.

62. The convener has a personal vote as a committee member and also a casting vote in the event of a tie. It is entirely a matter for the discretion of the convener how to use the casting vote. There are no agreed conventions on this point. It is however recognised as good practice for a convener to explain the basis on which he or she was using the casting vote immediately before doing so.

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