Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The blog

I'm trying to do a wee bit of tidying up of the front page of the blog (in case you notice something different). I want to make the links to other sources of information more visible so that it is easier for folk to navigate to the committee's webpage, the audioboo page, Picasa page etc.
Hope all will be sorted by end of the week.

What's happening?

Well, we prepare for next Tuesday's committee meeting with the papers going out today. These will be published on the website tomorrow (Thursday). Some of the 'big' petitions currently before the committee being disccussed on Tuesday. The Scottish Government housing minister Alex Neil MSP and Glasgow City Council leader Stephen Purcell will joing other witnesses in an evidence session on the petition from Govanhill Housing Association.
The committee will also consider the two petitions lodged on tackling knife crime. These are from Kelly McGee and John Muir. Those following this issue will be aware that the Justice Committee here is currently considering the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill which contains provisions relating to sentencing.
The committee will also continue its consideration of Tina McGeever's access to cancer treatment drugs petition on which a lot of progress has been made since the petition was first lodged two years ago.
As always, you can follow the meeting live (committee room 1) via Holyrood TV. Meetings starts at 2.00 pm with the Govanhill petition.

Tomorrow, the Convener meets with a delegation of parliamentarians from the Parliament of the Czech Republic to discuss the Scottish experience of petitions. A delagetion visited a coupe of years ago so there is continuing interest there in what we do here.
Fergus, Clerk to the PPC

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

E-petitions goes local

For all you avid followers of all things e-petitions (that would be me and eh, me!) I see that East Lothian Council has today launched its own e-petition system.
Fergus, Clerk to the PPC

Thursday, 18 February 2010

External meetings

You will remember a while back I posted details of future external meetings of the committee. Just a wee update for you.
The meeting on Monday 15 March which was planned for St Sndrews will now take place at Waid Aacademy in Anstruther. The meeting will start at 10.30 am, all in public. More details to follow for those who want to come along to this.
This has put me in the mood for a bag of chips!
Fergus, Clerk to the PPC

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Well done Ryan

Well done Ryan McLaughlin with your petition yesterday afternoon. Some strong and positive coverage of what you achieved in the papers today-

and I believe USA TODAY! Remember us if you end up on Oprah!
Photo below of Ryan and family with committee members receiving the very first copy of the new Making your voice heard leaflet which features Ryan on the front cover

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

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Cue fanfare

With a trumpet fanfare worthy of Chuck Mangione (OK that was the flugelhorn) we head into this afternoon's marathon committee meeting. Only 45 petitions on the agenda and not the previously reported 46. Wow, what will I do with that 1 minute saving!
Follow live as per on the excellent Holyrood TV (CR1). No idea how long this meeting will last but would expect up to 3 hours anyway (as is usual).
Have the start of the Gladiator film in my head. "On my command, unleash petitions!"
Fergus, Clerk to the PPC
PS: Some announcements of new features being introduced by committee coming out tomorrow. Will make details available at 8.00 am tomorrow.