Central Location, Edinburgh



Registration and Refreshments


Welcome and Introduction from the Chair

Tricia Marwick, Former Presiding Officer (2011-2016)

Session One

What's Next for Scotland?


In this first session we’ll ask an intital question – what is next for Scottish politics amid the uncertainties of Brexit, future referenda and growing distrust in political parties and politicians?

We bring together those forefront of political life in Scotland to examine how your organisation can continue to influence decision-makers despite the current political climate. 


  • Michael Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, Scottish Government

Following the Minister's speech we will break into small groups for a series of roundtable discussions. Delegates will be asked to share their experiences of engaging with the political system in Scotland and will share examples of best practice from their own organisations. 


Refreshments and Networking

Session Two

Scotland - Devolution 20 Years On


Understanding the role our devolved government plays in these uncertain times is crucial if we are to navigate the architecture of the Scottish Government. In this session we’ll explore the Scottish Government in more detail to examine the basics from who’s who and the different directorates to the relationship with parliament and how elected representatives work with civil servants.

Moreover, in the 20 years since devolution the Scottish Parliament has passed ground-breaking legislation and transformed the Scottish political landscape, but how can organisations egage effectively and influence the agenda?

In this session we'll examine both the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government, We will understand the role of the Scottish Parliament in the policy-making process – the role of committees, public petitions, how to follow the legislative process and outreach, and how you can get your voice heard by MSPs to get your organisation’s represented on the political agenda. We'll also drill down into the key issues the government is facing at the moment and will seek to understand how, in particularly uncertain times, you can get your issues heard by those at the forefront of policy and decision-making.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Mark Brough, Head of Legislation and Delegated Powers Team, Scottish Parliament
  • Gillian Baxendine, Head of Committee Engagement Unit, Scottish Parliament


Navigating Inter-Governmental Relations

how do the Scottish Government and UK Government work together - particularly when different political parties are in power? This is largely down to the role of civil servants who are skilled at navigating the architecture of various devolved administrations and can exercise soft diplomacy.

We’ll bring together those working between different administrations to examine how to interact with these administrations and how to know who is best placed to connect with.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Ian Davidson, Constitutional and UK Relations Divison, Scottish Government


    Lunch and Networking 


    Stripping Away the Mysteries: How to Engage with Decision-Makers 

    Political intelligence and knowing who and how to engage are essential tools in the political communications toolbox. In this first session we will equip you to navigate the landscape by stripping away the mysteries of how to engage with key policy makers from across government and parliament through: 

    • Developing an effective public affairs strategy 
    • Understanding the 'basic ingredients' for communicating your message
    •  Relationship building with elected representatives and civil servants
    • The importance of having a clear strategy

    The session will be led by Robert McGeachy and Mark Ballard, Authors, Public Affairs Guide to Scotland. 


    Closing Keynote Address

    David McGill, Assistant Chief Executive, Scottish Parliament


    Closing Remarks From The Chair

    Tricia Marwick, Former Presiding Officer (2011-2016)


    Close of the Event