Well, a really interesting 2 hour debate yesterday in the Chamber on the committee's petitions inquiry report. A lot of the positive aspects of the petitions process came out and members across the Chamber reflected on how the process really has evolved over the last 10 years and will continue to do so. This was a key point made be several committee members who referred to work they will be doing over the coming months to ensure the process continues to move forward.
Michael McMahon MSP, who was the PPC convener in session 2, in his opening speech referred back to petitioning and the Magna Carta. He set up the current convener (Frank McAveety MSP) nicely who, in the debate closing speech referred to the Tony Hancock sketch. Yes he did!
You can read the transcript of what was said or watch the archive film of the meeting.
So what happens now? Well, quite a few things have already been rolled out since the committee reported back in June. This blog for a start. Several other ideas are being taken forward internally eg revamp of the e-petition site, providing a facility to allow for the texting of support to petitions, improving publicity material (leaflets etc) These were all mentioned yesterday. The committee will also consider in the next few weeks its work programme for 2010. This will cover meeting dates, possible venues for further external meetings, how to take forward a dedicated young persons petitions meeting, how to build on last Monday's external meeting in Alness and the work done by our education outreach team here. We also want to reflect on some of the comments made at the Alness meeting, in particular, how to better publicise these external meetings so that more folk come along. We did arrange for posters to go up in local libraries and the convener wrote an article for the local newspapers but what else can we do?
So a lot going on the next few weeks and we will use the blog to provide regular updates on how all of this is going forward.
Fergus, Clerk to the PPC