Scottish Parliament committees are under-resourced and becoming "less and less" effective at scrutinising government policy, MSPs have warned.

Holyrood's Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee is looking at how to improve the ability of committees to hold the Scottish Government to account by scrutinising legislation and policy.

It is considering issues such as the impact further powers being devolved to Scotland will have on committee workload, the number and size of committees, how conveners and members are selected and how they are resourced.

Former SNP education secretary Michael Russell called for the committee to come up with a "clear and radical" plan to address the issues in time for the next parliament.

He said: "Good government and good governance requires effective challenge and the committees really have to be able to challenge effectively.

"My experience now, having been a minister for a period of time and now in the last year not being a minister, is that the committees are not resourced or enabled yet adequately to provide that role.

"I think smaller, fewer committees with members on a single committee would increase the ability of the Parliament to hold the executive to account and improve governance."

He added: "I would want to see this committee, if I could challenge the committee, to come up with a clear, radical plan for the next parliament because really that is owed to the people who will be in the next parliament and those who have gone through a system which has been less and less effective in doing what it needs to do, not because of any malice or desire to run down the role of parliament, but because the workload has increased and the parliament itself has operated on larger issues and found it harder and harder to cope."

SNP MSP Gil Paterson said there was "no question" Holyrood faced a resourcing problem, highlighting the "outrageous" difference between what is available to MPs compared to MSPs.

He said: "I think it's a problem and I think it should be addressed. We don't do the public the service that they deserve."

Labour MSP Hugh Henry called for a "radical and fundamental" look at Holyrood's structure, pointing out committees "fail abysmally" at scrutinising legislation once it has been passed.

SNP MSP Dave Thompson repeated his assertion that the number of members should be increased by adding two additional list MSPs to each region, creating a further 16 across Scotland.

Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw agreed, saying: "I would reduce the number of MPs that we have representing Scotland at Westminster commensurately."

Mr Russell said more members was the "ideal solution" but there was "no prospect" of it happening while Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser also called for a "hard-headed political reality check".

He said: "I just don't think there is going to be much public appetite for increasing the size of the Scottish Parliament no matter what excellent arguments from an internal point of view we might put."