Reforms designed to make Holyrood more reactive to current events will not necessarily make the Government more accountable, opposition parties have complained.
MSPs voted to hold chamber questions and debates on three afternoons a week, rather than the current Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday.
Opposition parties backed the changes but complained that they could curtail backbench committees, regarded as crucial to holding the Government to account.
Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick, who instigated many of the reforms, should also be given more power to compel ministers to give relevant answers to direct questions, opposition MSPs said.
They also warned against relegating opposition debates to the end of the week when they will be overshadowed by the "political theatre" of First Minister's Questions.
Labour MSP Hugh Henry, who stood against Ms Marwick in the election for Presiding Officer last year, asked whether Thursday morning committees would have to finish at 11.40am to make way for questions in the chamber.
Dave Thompson, convener of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee which devised the changes, said: "Committees can of course start at 9am rather than 10am which would give them a bit of extra time.
"Moving to a sitting pattern where committees meet in the morning and chamber business takes place in the afternoon, with the first parliamentary question time of the week on Tuesday afternoon, will certainly improve the Parliament's ability to be the first forum for debating emergency issues of importance to the people of Scotland."
The introduction of a new topical question time will enable backbenchers to question the Government at short notice on important issues, he said.
Mr Henry said accountability is not just about reforming the timetable but also to ensure "that ministers actually answer the question that they are asked".
Parliamentary Business Minister Brian Adam said: "How ministers answer the question is of course a matter for them, and we're all judged on how we deal with questions. I'm sure it would be beyond the wit of even someone of (Mr Henry's) calibre to specify when a question has been properly answered as, quite often, that is on the basis of whether you got the answer you wanted, as opposed to getting an answer."
Labour MSP Paul Martin called for more urgent ministerial statements, citing UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt`s statement to Westminster just hours after his aide resigned over his correspondence with News International.
"(Holyrood) still awaits a statement from the Scottish Government on the Murdoch issue, and any scrutiny that has taken place has taken place during FMQs (First Minister's Questions)," he said.
First Minister Alex Salmond has been asked repeatedly about his links to Rupert Murdoch and whether his phone was hacked by his journalists. He deferred answering the question until his forthcoming appearance at the Leveson Inquiry on media ethics.
Mr Martin rejected SNP MSP John Mason's suggestion that Westminster's longer hours afford them more time for last-minute timetable changes.
"That sounds me like it was drawn from the database of excuses of why governments cannot be held to account," said Mr Martin.
Hugh Henry was right to call on ministers to answer the questions that are put before them, he said.
"I think we should approach this with the maturity of ensuring that members are given respect when they raise questions."
Independent MSP Margo MacDonald argued that the Presiding Officer "can often determine whether or not a subject raised is relevant or the speaker is being apposite".
A Scottish Parliament spokesman said: "The PO's (Presiding Officer) role is to facilitate other members in holding the FM and his government to account. The PO is not responsible for the content of the First Minister's answers."
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