Commissioner FAQs


Do I have to attend every session of the General Assembly?

Commissioners are expected to engage in all sessions of the Assembly.

Except in exceptional circumstances, which should be conveyed to the Assembly Arrangements Committee (or during the Assembly, to the Business Committee) expenses are only payable to commissioners who have attended 17 of the 21 Sessions.

How many sessions are there each day?

There are four sessions every day, except from Monday when there is Communion and three business sessions, and Friday when there are only two sessions.


What are the expense limits for the General Assembly?

Expense levels are set annually by Assembly. The following will be proposed for 2020:

  • Overnight subsistence not exceeding £75 for each night
  • Daily out of pocket expenses not exceeding £15 per day
  • Mileage rate, when no public transport is available, 25p per mile.

If staying in the Edinburgh area with family or friends up to £80 may be claimed towards a gift or meal by way of gesture of thanks.

Further details (including required attendance) appear on the reverse of the claim form issued to commissioners in the pre-Assembly mailing.

Do I have to wait until after the Assembly to be reimbursed for accommodation expenses?

If you have paid for accommodation up front and would like early settlement please forward your accommodation receipt along with your bank sort code and account number to Alan Ritchie Up to £75 per night can be reimbursed.

If you are submitting a claim for daily out-of-pocket expenses and/or travel - please mark the accommodation section of the form "already reimbursed" and include the details of any commissioners who are sharing accommodation with you.

Note that early reimbursement must be repaid in the event of attendance at less than the required number of sessions.


Is there Wi-Fi in the Assembly Hall?

There is Wi-Fi in the Assembly Hall and Rainy Hall available for Commissioners' Assembly business. Login details will be on the daily papers.

Will I be able to charge my tablet during the day?

There will be a number of charging points available for the use of commissioners in the St Andrews Hall (behind the main Assembly Hall) and elsewhere.

Will the Assembly be available to watch online?

Yes, all the proceedings from the Assembly Hall can be watched live, and will also be available as ‘catch up’ recordings within 24 hours. Heart and Soul will be webcast too, and this year will be presented as a programme with interviews, comment and live coverage from Princes Street Gardens.

Commissioners of course must be present in the Assembly Hall to participate, but please do encourage others in your congregation to watch online.


Should I read the entire Volume of Reports (Blue Book) before the Assembly?

You should read over the reports prior to Assembly – ideally from cover to cover!

However a realistic approach is to skim through the book, noticing areas of particular interest to you. Prior to each report is the deliverance (the proposals which are being presented by the reporting council or committee). The deliverance will give you an idea of the topics which will be debated – and you can then focus in on particular areas of the reports.

As you read and reflect upon the reports – think on how it will impact your setting and congregation – are there questions forming in your mind? Questions are in order at any time during the Assembly and will encourage meaningful debate. Don’t assume that everyone else knows the answer!

When and where will the Volume of Reports (Blue Book) and Order of Proceedings be available?

Commissioners who request a printed copy of the Volume of Reports will receive their copy in the post before the Assembly. The online version is made available to download on the Publications section of our website at the same time.

The Order of Proceedings is made available to download online within a few weeks of the Assembly and includes the Special Commission Report. Daily Papers are made available to download - during the Assembly week - prior to each subsequent day's business.