REPORT OF THE PUBLIC PETITIONS COMMITTEE EVENT, DUNDEE, 14 JUNE 2004 Introduction 1. The Public Petitions Committee (PPC) held a participation event on 14 June 2004 at the Discovery Point, Dundee. This report provides a brief summary of the main issues which arose from event. Background 2. The PPC is unique in that its agenda is almost wholly determined by the public, including individuals and organisations. 3. At its meeting on 31 March 2004 the Committee agreed that effective promotion of the public petitions system would be useful in developing the work of the Committee. The Committee, therefore, agreed to hold a committee event in Dundee aimed at equality organisations, local community groups and other local organisations. In doing so the Committee aims to ensure that groups and individuals who are traditionally excluded from the political process are aware of how to petition the Parliament. To achieve this aim the Parliament’s public participation officer worked closely with local groups and organisations in publicising the event. 4. The primary aim of the event was to provide an overview of the petitions system, draw upon the individual experiences of previous petitioners and provide practical advice and guidance on petitioning and e-petitioning the Scottish Parliament. The Event 5. The event was attended by 45 representatives of local community and equality groups and a list of attendees is attached as Annexe A. The event was also attended by the Convener and two other Members of the Committee and a local MSP. There was also some interest from the local media and the event was filed by the Parliament’s broadcasting unit. The Parliament’s public information staff were also on hand to provide general information on the work of the Parliament. 6. Delegates were involved in lively plenary and workshop sessions including presentations from the Convener of the Committee, two previous petitioners and Professor Ann McIntosh from the International Teledemocracy Centre who presented a paper on e-petitioning. Feedback 7. All delegates were asked to complete an evaluation form at the end of the event and 27 were completed and returned to the Committee Clerking team. A copy of the evaluation form is attached as Annexe B. 8. Of the 27 returned questionnaires, 25 respondents indicated that the event met their expectations while none indicated that it did not. 16 respondents suggested that the organisation of the event was good while 10 thought that it was excellent. In relation to the structure and content of the plenary sessions 21 individuals suggested that it was good while 4 thought that it was excellent. In terms of the overall usefulness of the event 17 respondents thought that it was good while 9 suggested that it was excellent. 9. As there were a number of queries raised throughout the day in relation to the use of different languages a copy of the parliament’s language policy is attached as Annexe C. Comments 10. Below are listed a selection of some of the comments and suggestions which delegates made on their evaluation sheets: “The use of technology by a Parliament is a brave step especially as the development and use of a tool that continues to face challenges from many areas.” “Perhaps could have been presented in a morning .” “Very useful – should be held more often – there is a need to raise awareness about petitions with ethnic minority communities and address barriers. Website could be in different languages – training pack with interpreters attending will break language barriers – overall even very useful – we learned new things.” “How about a few laptops to have hands-on go at online petition as one of the workshops.” “I thoroughly enjoyed the day – people were very easy to listen to – I learned a lot. It would be extremely useful to take this event to other workers and venues so that they can also learn what petitioning is about. I was surprised to learn how easy and user-friendly the whole process is.” “Examples of petitions was very brief – completed case showing all different stages would be appropriate .” “Do petitions have any end product – if so where or when is there any example or proof.” “Bringing petitioning to local people is important. Might be useful in breaking down the apathy which surrounds the political system in Scotland.” Conclusions 11. On the basis of the feedback sheets and comments from participants throughout the day the Committee may wish to consider the following: • • when holding similar events again that more time is set aside for workshops and that the whole event could be shorter; in order to reach a wider audience consideration should be given to devising and distributing a training package including revised guidance and a video of the event given the difficulties which some groups have in travelling to Edinburgh for Committee meetings the Committee may wish to utilise videoconferencing facilities and hold meetings outside Edinburgh further similar events should be arranged with more detailed information on the public petitions system being provided in advance • • Public Petitions Committee Participation Event, 14 June 2004, Discovery Point, Dundee list of attendees Name Organisation Mr Mohammed Afzal Mr Alan Barclay Mr R S Basra Mrs Kathryn Berthon Ms Alice Bovill Ms Pamela Brunt Mrs Patricia Chan Mr John F Copland Ms Morag Cumming Ms Karen D’Arcy Ms Kerry Dixon Mr C.L Dogra Mr Nigel Don Ms Irene Dowie Mr Damir Duheric Mr Stuart Fairweather Mr Raymond Gerrard Mr George Graham Dr Muhammad Rafiq Habib Ms Lorna Hannigan Ms Elly Hood Dr Shazia Imam Ms E Kane Mr David Keenan Ms Linda Linton Ms Margaret McCulloch Mr Martin McKay Ms Cathy McKenzie Miss Susan McMahon Ms Fiona Myles Mrs Komal Pawar Ms Patricia Phinn Ms Elaine Pratt Ms Rena Smith Ms Elaine Sword Mr Larry Taylor Mrs Rittu Tewari Mr Joe Tole Mr Mohammed Jalal Uddin Mr A Whyte Dundee Community Language Advisory Grp Morgan Academy Hindu Temple Dundee Central Library SMART Dundee Women’s Aid Dundee Translation Service Dundee Pensioner’s Forum Dialogue Youth Buce Street Family Centre Signpost International The Bharatiya Ashram Dundee City Council University Third Age Ethnic Minorities Law Centre Social Inclusion Partnership Dundee Anti-Poverty Forum Cport (Hepatitis C) Scottish Islamic and Cultural Centre Hansard Society Scotland Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office Dundee City Council Translation & Interpretation Service Dundee Employment Aftercare Project St John’s High School Charleston Residents Association Whitfield Inclusion Network Group Dundee City Council Dundee City Council Harris Academy Central Library, Edinburgh Access to Learning Project Dundee City Council Community and Voluntary Alliance Balmoral Tenants & Residents Association Dundee Healthy Living Initiative Menzieshill, Balgay, Denhead of Gray, Benvie & Gourdie Community Council Hilltown Outreach Translation Service Maxwelltown Info Centre Maxwelltown Info Centre Whitfield Community Library & Learning Centre An Introduction to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions System Event Evaluation Questionnaire This document asks you a few questions about the above event. The information you give will be analysed and assist in evaluating the event as well as assist in the development of future events run by the Scottish Parliament. Please take a few moments to complete it and leave it on the registration desk as you leave. If you cannot finish it in time to hand back to the staff, please feel free to post it to Joanne Clinton, Assistant Clerk to the Public Petitions Committee, The Scottish Parliament, Room 5.16, Parliamentary Headquarters, EDINBURGH, EH99 1SP. How did you hear about this event? …………………………………………………… How would you rate the following? The information supplied before the event The organisation of the event The venue and facilities The structure and content of the plenary sessions The structure and content of the workshops The quality and content of the speakers’ presentations The usefulness of the feedback session The overall usefulness of the event Your overall enjoyment of the event Poor Fair Good Excellent P.T.O. Did the event meet your expectations Yes No Which part of the event did you find most useful? Which part of the event did you find least useful? Additional comments or suggestions on any aspect of the event. The comments you have entered in this questionnaire may be reproduced in the publications, web-site or other published formats of the Scottish parliament in either a full or edited form unless you indicate you would prefer otherwise. Thank you for your help.
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