Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Cue drum roll

Well, the moment has arrived. Three new hi-tech ways of getting involved with the Scottish Parliament launched today by the committee.
A series of social media tools - ‘boos’ (digital sound recordings), texts and pod casts - will allow a greater number of people to access information on what a petition is, how to submit and support one and what happens to a petition during committee meetings. As part of this launch a new streamlined information leaflet, ‘Petitioning the Scottish Parliament: Making your voice heard’ will explain the petitions process more clearly and simply.
All of these initiatives come as a response to the committee’s inquiry into the public petitions process which ran from June 2008 to June 2009 and the thoughts and suggestions put forward by members of the public at committee meetings in Berwickshire (Duns), Glasgow (Easterhouse) and Aberdeenshire (Fraserburgh).
Below is a quote from the committee convener Frank McAveety MSP-

“We were the first parliament in the world to accept e-petitions back in 2000 and now in 2010 we hope to maintain our reputation for innovation by increasing the options that make it easier for people to access information and submit petitions.
“From today, you can download our new leaflet, pod cast versions of this in a range of different languages, support an e-petition by text and listen to committee updates at AudioBoo. We hope these outlets, alongside our blog, will allow us to share information more easily and in more formats with petitioners and those following petitions.”

The new ways of accessing information about the petitions process are:
Using the AudioBoo website – which allows users to post and share sound files (‘boos’). This could be a useful tool for the committee to provide quick updates after its meetings on the outcomes of individual petitions so individuals will be able to hear quickly and easily what happened. The first ‘boo’ is now available (apologies for this, but recorded by me! - I might have a face for radio but I aint got the voice!)
A new service will allow individuals to text in support for an e-petition via their mobile phone.
The new ‘Petitioning the Scottish Parliament: Making your voice heard’ leaflet has also been produced in a pod cast format which can be listened to on a mobile phone or PC. These, along with the script of each and the template for lodging a petition are available in English, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi, Urdu, Polish and Gaelic.
The front page of the new leaflet features Ryan McLaughlin who petitioned the Parliament about the provision of vitamin D supplementation to tackle MS. Ryan was presented with the very first copy of the new leaflet by the Committee Convener. His petition was considered by the Committee at its meeting yesterday.

After reading this, admit it, the rest of today will be an anti-climax for you all.

Fergus, Clerk to the PPC

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