Friday, 11 December 2009

A braw year?

I think this has been a braw year for the PPC. As I said at our meeting this afternoon, we met 18 times during 2009, with three of these meetings being external in Easterhouse, Fraserburgh and Alness. Here we met with local groups and individuals, schools, and discussed issues around what we do, the role of the Parliament, how to get involved through petitioning. Some great moments (folk sitting on the floor at the Easterhouse meeting as we ran out of space and seats; the pupils at Fraserburgh Academy and who had the nicest hair; being piped in at Alness Academy when we arrived!).
We hosted our knife crime summit in the Parliament back in January on John Muir's petition; contributed to the moving stories exhibition with 4 of the 10 stories being from petitioners; played a role in the recent Understanding and influencing your Parliament conference; met with several delegations eg Wales, Vietnam, Victoria in Australia; concluded our year long inquiry into the public petitions process; introduced several ways to better publicise the work and role of the committee (including this blog!); and continued our consideration of our access to cancer drugs petition inquiry from 2008.
We considered 79 new and 277 current petitions over the course of our 18 meetings. This resulted in the issuing of around 2,000 letters and e-mails seeking information.
Now I think all of this, and all the other work we've done is pretty impressive. But we can do more and we will. We've got some exciting work ahead of us in 2010 including more external meetings in St Andrews, Thurso and Arran, our young petitioners meeting which we will hold, more projects to increase our presence using new e-technologies plus, of course, lots of interesting and important petitions to consider. We will continue to improve the petitions process wherever and whenever we can to ensure it meets the needs and expectations of the people who use it.
Can I wish you all a happy Christmas an a guid New Year.
Frank McAveety MSP, Convener of the PPC

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