Headlines: December 2nd, 2005

The Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee, which has won international recognition for its use of e-democracy solutions, has broken more new ground with the launch last night of a DVD explaining the Parliament’s petitioning process. It is aimed at people working in the community and it explains how participants can use the e-petitions system.The disc includes interviews with MSPs, parliamentary staff, petitioners and also uses real-life examples of how the Petitions Committee has led to changes. The idea for the DVD came initially from people attending a Petitions Committee event in Dundee in June last year as the first in a series to promote the petitions system. The Parliament now hopes the DVD will also increase awareness of petitioning.

The DVD was screened last night to about 40 guests from the community sector and was also seen by three members of the public who have petitioned the Parliament. Chris Daly from Glasgow and Paul Macdonald and Margaret Scott, both from Edinburgh, took part in a question and answer session alongside Deputy Presiding Officer, Murray Tosh and members of the Public Petitions Committee.

Mr. Tosh said the committee should be congratulated for its continued innovative and exciting work in encouraging public engagement with the Parliament.

“The launch of this DVD follows quickly after the recognition of the Parliament’s e-petitions system at the eEurope Awards and once again emphasises our commitment to developing a more participatory politics in Scotland,” he said.

The Committee has been highlighted as an example of good practice by several institutions around Europe and its ePetition system was among the last four nominees for a prestigious European award at the 2005 Ministerial eGovernment Conference. About 1,000 copies of the 10-minute DVD will be sent to community organisations across Scotland.