EXPERTS will examine sweeping Holyrood reforms following concerns that ministers are escaping effective scrutiny from backbenchers.

Ken Macintosh, the presiding officer, said that the Scottish Parliament's systems were in need of "an MOT" with John McCormick, who stands down as Electoral Commissioner for Scotland in December, to lead a review.

It represents the latest bid to improve processes at Holyrood. Tricia Marwick, the former presiding officer, had made a series of recommendations including the introduction of directly elected committee convenors but found her efforts largely thwarted.

Read more: UK Government 'faces £84bn Brexit-related black hole'

The move comes following growing concerns that Holyrood had fallen well behind Westminster in providing effective scrutiny of Government and legislation, with MSPs regularly asking softball questions of ministers in committee sessions and votes dividing on party lines.

The review has the support of all Holyrood party leaders and will be tasked with ensuring effective checks and balances are in place, exploring how the parliament can increase engagement with the public and establish an identity distinct from the Scottish Government.

Mr Macintosh said: "During this session the Scottish Parliament will turn 21, and in its lifetime we will have seen coalition, majority and minority government, further devolution of powers and a digital revolution. The time is therefore right for us to reflect on our experience and take a serious look at how the Parliament should evolve to ensure it best meets the needs of the Scottish people. I believe an independent, external Commission is the best vehicle for achieving that.

Read more: UK Government 'faces £84bn Brexit-related black hole'

"The Parliament’s systems are not broken but they are in need of an MOT. I am asking the Commission to take a fresh look at how we conduct our business and to deliver practical recommendations for change.

"Over the last decade or more, we have seen Scottish politics become increasingly tribal and divisive. This has, among other things, made it challenging for MSPs to find the space to develop in their distinct role as parliamentarians."

Commission Chair Mr McCormick said: "The Commission has a wide and substantial remit so we’ll be getting down to business as soon as possible. Hearing the views of the public will be key to informing our work and we will be announcing shortly how people can get in touch with us and make their voice heard.

Read more: UK Government 'faces £84bn Brexit-related black hole'

"Holyrood was designed as a Parliament for all of Scotland so the Commission will want to hear from people right across the country and from all walks of life about how they think their Parliament could work better for them."