Thursday, 30 September 2010

Understanding and Influencing your Parliament conference

This Saturday (2 October) sees a big event in the Parliament with the second Understanding and Influencing your Parliament conference. The conference is targeted at local (i.e. community-based) voluntary and charity-sector organisations, civic groups and campaign organisations. Around 150 attendees from across Scotland are expected to attend the event aimed at developing effective skills to allow such groups to have their voice heard at Holyrood.
Petitions will play a central role in the conference. One of the main speakers in the Chamber on Saturday morning is Ron Beaty who has petition on improving school bus safety. Ron will talk about his campaign and how his work so far. He will also take part in the petition workshop in the afternoon along with petitioner/campaigner Douglas McKenzie . The workshop will be chaired by Rhona Brankin MSP, the PPC Convener (and I will be there!).
There will also be a social media workshop where participants can discuss and learn about different forms of social media (eg blogs) and how these can be used as a way of sharing information and promoting an issue. Taking part in that workshop is Bob Thomson who has a petition on availability of Low Dose Naltrexone and Peter Cruickshank from the International Teledemocracy Centre at Edinburgh Napier University. ITC were the folk wot developed the e-petition system (and of course the Scottish Parliament was the first legislature in the world to accept e-petitions back in 2000).
I am going to blog from the conference and get some photos on to the site which I hope you find helpful.
Fergus, Clerk to the PPC

Tuesday's meeting

We return to Holyrood and Tuesday will see another committee meeting. Usual bumper agenda.
First petition up is PE1319 on improving youth football. The committee will take oral evidence from Henry McLeish who chaired the Scottish football review. Then there are six new petitions with oral evidence in respect of the first two. The Committee then moves back to current petitions with 20 current petitions before it.
No more external meetings planned now so remainder of session will be focus on dealing with the volume of petitions. In committee room 1 on Tuesday, usual 2.00 pm start on Holyrood TV

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Time for Reflection Wednesday 22 September

Petitioner Tina McGeever will lead Time for Reflection in the Parliament Chamber on Wednesday 22 September. TfR is the slot each Wednesday before the commencement of business in the Chamber when an invited speaker addresses the meeting of the Parliament for up to 4 minutes. Tina as you know has been campaigning to improve the system for accessing cancer treatment drugs on the NHS and has successfully brought about many important improvements in the systems and procedures use by health boards across Scotland. Her petition goes back before the PPC in November for an update from the Scottish Government on the roll out of guidance to health boards earlier this year.
You can watch TfR live, 2.30 pm, via Holyrood TV.
Well done Tina. Well deserved!
Quick update: Here is Tina at TfR
You can read what was said by clicking here or view the proceedings again via Holyrood TV archive

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Well done Arran High School

Well, Arran may have had horizontal rain yesterday but the High School did the PPC proud with a memorable external meeting. Piped into the school on arrival and then, after a few words of welcome from the head teacher, Douglas Auld, young Struan Robertson recited some Burns. Now it isnt everyday (or in fact ever!) that you have some Burns at a committee meeting. Katy Simmons and Scott Currie presented their petition to the PPC members and then spoke informatively and confidently about the travel costs and problems faced by young people in remote and rural areas. We have some photos of the pupils handing their petition over to the Committee on our Picasa webpage. After the formal meeting, the PPC members held a 'lively' Q&A session with the 5th and 6th year pupils. A quick lunch and then the afternoon ferry back to the mainland. Decided against going on to deck as I may have been blown back to Arran (or beyond). This was the last external PPC meeting but a really good one to end with so thank you to everyone at the school who made it work so well.
You can watch an extract of Katy and Scott's presentation to the Committee below

Friday, 3 September 2010

Arran committee meeting on 13 September.

The PPC will be visiting Arran on 13 September as part of its commitment to meet people throughout Scotland.
The meeting will start at 9.30 am at Arran High School to which you are welcome to participate and attend. Below is a link to a news release about this meeting. As you will see, the MSPs are very much looking forward to this meeting and certainly hope that you are able to come along and watch a meeting of your Parliament at work.
The agenda for the meeting will be published next week but it will largely be split into the consideration of new petition and current (those that are ‘in the system’). Some of these may be of a particular interest to you for example the petition from the RSPB on the illegal killing of birds of prey. Pupils at the High School are also working on a petition which they will present and speak about at the meeting. This will give the meeting a particular local flavor.
We hope you will be able to attend and if you have any questions do get in touch by phoning Fergus (Clerk) on 0131 348 5186.

1st Committee meeting after recess

The summer recess ends today which means that official business in Parliament resumes on Monday. The PPC has had a very busy summer with around 40 new petitions coming. Some of these will be considered at our next meeting on Tuesday 7 September. Here's a link to the agenda . As usual we will start at 2.00pm and the Committee will consider 13 new petitions (8 of them are identical and relate to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman) and 16 current petitions.
We will be hearing evidence on 2 new petitions, PE1336 about saving West Highland wild salmons and trouts and petition PE1340 on giving greater protection to Scotland's trees.
We hope to see you on the day but if you can't you can always follow the proceedings on your computer by logging onto Holyrood TV.