Tuesday, 18 May 2010

How is this happening!?

Another 'short' meeting today. That's two on the trot when the committee has got through all the petitions in under 2 hours. Although we continue to receive a good number of petitions, some of these are on the e-petition site at present and others we are still in discussion with the petitioner so they are not ready to go before the committee at a meeting.
I don't think there will be any new petitions at the next meeting on 1 June but I suspect 'normal service' will resume at the 15 and 29 June meetings, the last two before the summer recess, when the committee will look to get a good number of new petitions before it.
Fergus, Clerk to the PPC

Monday, 17 May 2010

Cancer drugs petition

Further good news and move in the right direction on improving access to cancer treatment drugs which Tina McGeever has been promoting through her petition. The Scottish Government has today written to all NHS boards regarding the 'Introduction and availability of newly licensed medicines in the NHS in Scotland'. Also piece on BBC news.
This was on the back of the recent discussions at PPC meetings at which we considered and commented on a draft of the guidance now issued in final form.
Frank McAveety MSP, PPC Convener

Friday, 14 May 2010

Bavarian Parliament visit

A very interesting and useful discussion yesterday with our friends from the Bavarian Parliament. I hope they all enjoyed their week long visit to Scotland. As well as meeting with PPC members to discuss public petitioning, the delegation was particularly interested in justice related issues and visited Barlinnie Prison, Strathclyde Police, met with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and others during their time here.
I was pleased to take part in a short interview for Holyrood TV with the Hans Joachim Werner MdL who is my opposite number on the Committee for Supplications and Appeals. This is available on the main Parliament website but we have added a link to it here.
Frank McAveety MSP, PPC Convener

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Bavarian visit

You will know that the Committee for Supplications and Appeals (petitions committee) of the Bavarian State Parliament is visiting Scotland this week. A big welcome to them. They have a series of meetings lined up this week but of course the highlight will be the meeting with the PPC on Thursday! Lots of issues to get through including e-petitioning, format for committee meetings, committee information gathering techniques. Looking forward to exchanging ideas and views. More details to follow.
Frank McAveety MSP, PPC Convener

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Well done Ryan

You will recall the petition we considered from Ryan McLaughlin about new guidelines on vitamin D supplementation used in tackling MS. Ryan was a remarkable young petitioner who features on the front cover of our Making your voice heard leaflet we published last year (the photo was taken when Ryan and hundreds of other 'Bravehearts' marched down to the Parliament to hand over his petition).

Well Ryan recently won the European Taekwondo Championship (following on from his mum, a previous champion). From all at the PPC, well done Ryan. Well deserved!
Frank McAveety MSP, PPC Convener

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Visiting delegations

I know we posted a few weeks ago that members of the Petitions Committee of the German Bundestag were coming over for a meeting with the PPC members. Alas, the volcanic cloud/airline situation postponed that meeting last week but we do hope to meet with the committee later this year. There are some features of the German petitions process we are particularly interested in. A big disappointment for us but an understandable reason as to why the members couldn't make the trip.
However, we are meeting with members of the Petitions Committee of the Bavarian State Parliament on Thursday (13th) next week which I know will be of interest and benefit to us all. The delegation is in Scotland all next week for a series of meetings.
Before then I look forward to meeting with Judy Spence MP who is the Leader of the House in the Queensland Parliament. She is visiting the Parliament today in her capacity as Chair of the Committee System Review Committee and we will be having a blether this afternoon about public petitioning and, specifically, the role of the PPC. On behalf of the PPC I submitted a contribution to their inquiry which I hope will be of interest. You will know that we have good relationships with legislatures in Australia for example, we have held a couple of videoconferences with the Petitions Committee in the House of Representatives and met with a number of elected representatives from other state parliaments such as Tasmania and Western Australia. Of course Queensland, like us, were the early pioneers of e-petitioning and this is something we will no doubt discuss later today. Bet the weather is warmer there than it is here!
Frank McAveety MSP, Convener PPC

Inside Parliament

The PPC meeting yesterday finished earlier than anticipated so I managed to stop by the education centre here to meet some teachers visiting the Parliament this week as part of the 'Inside Parliament' programme. Great idea this and shows a further willingness and commitment to open the doors of the Parliament and show folk what it does and how it can help. It was good to meet with some of the teachers taking part. I hope everyone involved enjoys their time with us this week.
Frank McAveery MSP, Convener PPC

Yesterday's meeting

Well I said I hope the committee wouldn't have another 4 hour meeting like it did on 20 April and it didn't. Only 1 3/4 hours. I've had hair cuts that have taken longer (not now though!). Two oral presentations yesterday with a lot of members interested in the RSPB petition (not least as four of them are members of the RSPB!). I think we are the point where petitions considered by the committee will not come back before them until after the summer recess.
Committee also agreed some changes to its previously agreed work programme. Next meeting is on Tuesday 18 May here at Holyrood. Next external meeting is Arran on Monday 20 September.
Fergus, Clerk to the PPC