March 22nd 2018 - March 29th 2018 | Crowne Plaza, Edinburgh

Agenda Day 1 - The Scottish Parliament Explained


Registration and Refreshments


Welcome and introduction by the Chair

Kenny MacAskill, Former MSP (1999-2016) and Former Cabinet Secretary for Justice 

Session One

Policy and Overview of the Scottish Parliament 


Turbulent Times: Politics Today in Scotland, The UK and Europe

  • Economic and Political trubulence
  • End of old certainties
  • Future Uncertain: Coping with uncertainty

Professor James Mitchell, Professor of Public Policy, Academy of Government, University of Edinburgh


Q & A


Parliament Explained: Committees and Outreach​

  • Examining the committee structure
  • Understanding the parliamentary process

Andy Proudfoot, Senior Assistant Clerk to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, The Scottish Parliament


The Legislative Process

  • The key features of the legislative process
  • How to follow and influence it
  • Legislation in session 5 – new powers, new members, new politics

Mark Brough, Head of Legislation and Delegated Powers Team, The Scottish Parliament


Q & A


Refreshments and Networking​

Session Two

The Rules of Engagement and the New Lobbying Register


Stripping Away The Mysteries

Political intelligence and knowing who and how to engage are essential tools in the political communication toolbox. This session will help to equip you to navigate the parliamentary landscape by stripping away the mysteries of how to engage with key policy makers at Scottish Government level, and in the Scottish Parliament.

Mark Ballard and Robert McGeachy, Joint Authors of the Public Affairs Guide to Scotland


Understanding Public Petitions​

  • Getting your voice heard
  • How to engage​

Catherine Fergusson, Clerk to the Public Petitions Committee, the Scottish Parliament


Q & A


Becoming Familiar with the new Lobbying Register

Lobbying is an essential part of democratic society. As of the 12th of March, the Lobbying (Scotland) 2016 Act will come into effect, and will fundamentally change the way in which organisations carry out future lobbying activities. This session will help equip you to comply with the new lobbying register

  • Increasing the level of public transparency around direct, face-to-face contact made between individuals, organisations and the Scottish Parliament or Government
  • The consequences of failing to provide information
  • Using the Lobbying Register

Dougie Wands, Acting Lobbying Registrar, Scottish Parliament

James Drummond, Lobbying Register Support Manager, Scottish Parliament​


Media Engagement with the Lobbying Register

Transmitting a message that resonates and manages to cut through all the noise that surrounds the people that your organisation are trying to reach is a big challenge in today’s multi-channel media world. This roundtable session will provide guidance from respected experts in the field on how best to meet that challenge.​

Panel discussion: Lobbying and the Media

Panellists from journalism, communications and public affairs will come together to discuss future lobbying activities following the introduction of the new register.

Angela Haggerty, Editor, Common Space and Sunday Herald columnist

Gina Davidson, Communications Director, Scottish Labour Party and Former Journalist

Simon Pia, Former Journalist and Advisor to the Labour Party


Lunch and networking​

Session Three

Holyrood: An Insider’s Guide​


The Scottish Parliament - Future Developments?

  • Using new powers
  • Brexit
  • Working with other parliaments

Sir Paul Grice, Chief Executive, Scottish Parliament 


Keeping Order - the Role of the Presiding Officer

Tricia Marwick, Former Presiding Officer (2011-2016)


Q & A​


Panel Session: The role of an MSP

Four MSP’s representing a variety of political parties will discuss their role and how this has changed in the face of the current political climate.

Miles Briggs MSPScottish Conservatives

Tavish Scott MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrats  

Andy Wightman MSP, Scottish Green Party

Gillian Martin MSP, SNP 

Iain Gray MSP, Scottish Labour  



Closing remarks from the chair


Close of Day One