Headlines: November 3rd, 1999

The Scottish Parliament has given details of how it intends to engage the people of the country in its work.At a time when all parts of the public sector are being urged to be more responsive to citizens and customers, the new Parliament has the opportunity to build a new political culture that incorporates external participation in the development of policy and legislation.

Three hundred thousand pounds has been set aside to fund the Scottish Civic Forum. Already some 600 organisations have registered interest in the forum, described as a ‘key gateway’ between the Executive, the Parliament and the People.

And there is further money to help the parliamentary committees to invest in ‘partnership with the people’ in their work.

Among mechanisms available to committees are the appointment of expert panels; citizens juries and panels to provide representative feedback; deliberative polling and consensus conferences; and inputs to wider forums such as a Youth Parliament and an Older People’s Parliament.