Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Meeting Tuesday 4 May

I don't think committee is aiming to repeat the marathon 4 hour meeting on 20 April at its next meeting on Tuesday 4 May in CR1 (if you want to watch on Holyrood TV). Agenda and papers issued today, on PPC webpage tomorrow morning in usual place.
Only three new petitions with oral presentations on the first two-
PE1315 Stop the illegal killing of birds of prey (lodged by from RSPB Scotland - there was a lot of publicity about this when it was lodged) and
PE1323 Community Centres for Scottish Shia Muslims
Committee will also be discussing a revised work programme which will cover possible revisions to meeting dates for 2010, external meetings, and also work around the young petitioners meeting it will be holding. That is last agenda item.
Hoping for a straight forward meeting (don't I always!).
Fergus, Clerk to the PPC

Thursday, 22 April 2010

The Yangtze campaign, 1949

Once again the Committee is showing how diverse the topic of petitions can be. This time, it is nothing less than the 1949 Yangtze campaign, thanks to William Leitch who petitioned the PPC only a couple of months ago. If you want to know more about this petition then just go to the PPC website to read petition PE1312.
Mr Leitch spared no efforts in trying to find archives describing the Yangtze campaign and the result is an astonishing collection of videos made between May and November 1949. Among them you will find the original footage of the Amethyst heroes in Hong Kong, the Yang Tse survivors reaching Shangai and London greeting the Amethyst men. All very interesting and informative videos.
Yang Tse survivors reach Shangai - 2.5.1949

Welcome Amethyst! - 3.11.1949

Jack French in his hometown Ashburton - 7.11.1949

The Amethyst returns in triumph - 11.08.1949

H.M.S London returns from the Far East - 15.09.1949

London greets the Amethyst men -17.11.1949

Amethyst heroes in Hong Kong - 18.08.1949

Gibraltar greets the Amethyst - 31.10.1949

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Further progress with cancer drugs petition

We discussed Tina McGeever's cancer drugs petition again today and made further progress. The Scottish Government sent us a copy of the draft guidance it plans to issue (later this month?) to NHS boards. This is intended to provide a framework to which boards must align local policies on access to new medicines. It also contains specific advice on what is now called individual patient treatment requests (previously exceptional prescribing requests, a name we didnt like)). The Cabinet Secretary was keen to hear the Committee’s, and Tina McGeever’s, views on this guidance before it was issued given the impetus for all of this has been the petition and the Committee’s inquiry report.
We had previously provided comments (see 2 March meeting) and were pleased that the CS had reacted positively to these as members said earlier today. We think this guidance is a big positive step forward and testament to the effort and hard work Tina has put into this.
We also considered a draft of a new leaflet to go out to patients aimed at providing information on how new medicines are made available. I will be writing to the Cab Sec tomorrow about this (the letter will be published). Lets focus on another important step forward with this petition which will bring further improvements to cancer patients and others.
Frank McAveety MSP, Convener

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Coming up

Was that not the title of a Paul McCartney song? Bother, now got tune in my head!
The committee is pleased to be hosting a visit in a couple of weeks time from the Petitions Committee of the German Bundestag. This should be a very interesting meeting and follows on from meetings which the previous committees have had (September 2001 and September 2006) to discuss issues of mutual interest.
Some fascinating elements to the German petitioning process. The committee (the Petitionsausschuss) describes the petitions process as 'the Parliament's seismograph' which is a very neat way of describing petitioning. The committee there fulfills more of an ombudsman function and considers petitions on individual cases whereas 'Scottish' petitions must have a national dimension to them. It terms of size, you cannot compare. The Petitionsausschuss will consider over 20,000 petitions a year (jings, I would never get home!), membership is around 28. However, fundamental to both the German and Scottish systems is upholding and preserving the petitions process for citizens and providing a proper facility for them to raise isues with their parliament. Here, it reflects founding principles - access, participation, sharing power.
I'll post nearer the time but, as I say, it will be an interesting and useful discussion to which we are all looking forward to.
A couple of weeks later the Petitions Committee of the Bavarian State Parliament will visit. As I understand it, the petitions process in each of the 16 Lander reflects the process in the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) but obviously the states will perhaps be of a more comparable size to Scotland. A lot to learn from these meetings.

Next meeting

20 April, next Tuesday, is the 6th meeting this year of the committee. Agenda and papers issued today and will; be on committee's website tomorrow morning. Just to give you a wee taster, the committee will hear oral presentations on-
PE1319 Improving youth football
PE1322 Dance teaching and coaching in schools and colleges
PE1308 Publicly funded trade missions to Israel
There are 4 further new petitions to be discussed that day (in CR1 if you want to follow via live webstream on Holyrood TV)
There are 18 current petitions down for discussion including continuing consideration to Tina McGeever's petition (PE1108). Usual amazing array of topics.
Meeting starts at the usual 2.00 pm, reckon 3 hours for this meeting if not a wee bit longer. Phew!
Fergus Clerk to PPC