Bring the Parliament to the people

Bring the Parliament to the people

Bring the Parliament to the people The Parliament should test approaches to using regional engagement, information hubs and/or a travelling exhibition or mobile unit.


Very high priority should be given to this.

MSPs visiting community councils.

Could the parliament make use of digital advertising screens in local town/city centres that are becoming more visible?

In these days of social media misinformation, it is important for Parliament to directly tell local communities what they are doing, how their thinking of progressing in the future and engaging with communities. Community councils might be a good way of disseminating information, together with schools and libraries. Use the facilities we already have.

The mechanics of how the Scottish Parliament works should be taught in schools in Scotland so that everyone understands they have a right to be involved in the running of the country.

If going out to local communities the Parliament needs to ensure that venues and times of engagement sessions are accessible for disabled people. Certainly more Committee sessions could be held outwith Parliament.

Being mindful of the similarities and differences of communities of geography and communities of interest is crucial for effective, meaningful community engagement. In order to ensure effective methodology, community development expertise should be involved from the outset

JustCitizens believe that there should be wider education on how the Scottish Parliament works, its mechanisms and ways to engage. Children should learn from a really young age that the Scottish Parliament exists to represent its citizens and it belongs to them. We also think that it would be beneficial for MSPs to find more ways to hear from people, without relying solely on office appointments. There could be a travelling exhibit that showcases the work of the Scottish Parliament in smaller communities, where people can ask questions and there are interactive ways to participate for children and young people. To reach people effectively, there must be good lines of communication and there needs to be an effort to meet people where they are. This does not mean creating entirely new means of connection; but rather building on already existing venues, exhibitions, and community spaces to increase the likelihood of engagement.

I am seriously concerned about the difficulty of making my voice heard in the government's decision-making process. I feel that, as the process is at present, we have democracy in name only. My concern grew recently when I contacted Anne McLaughlin about a geopolitical matter and received the form reply that I might not receive an answer as constituents' "personal issues" were given priority. Geopolitical matters affect us all personally and should be treated as seriously as other, more local matters. Each area should have a hub where people can find out about what is being presented to parliament, and there should be a clear and easy process for people's voices to be heard. The hub should be within easy walking distance, and it could be something as simple as a stand by the entrance to the local supermarket or library. There should also be regular, fixed dates where people can get together to discuss concerns with each other and with their representatives in group discussion.

Priority should be given to this. In keeping with salient points made about Scottish society and politics by Darren McGarvey in his latest book: proximity matters. Distance or lack of proximity between the realities of people's lives and MSPs/the Parliament is felt. One of the better events for scrutiny and engagement (by the public) that I've been to was a Scottish Government Travelling Cabinet event. I am not a member of a political party, but I enjoyed hearing Cabinet Ministers being asked questions (grilled!) that hadn't been pre-vetted, where they had to listen to how their decisions and policies affect people's lives. At that event, the First Minister made affable jokes about how hard and intelligent the public's wide-ranging questions to Ministers were - and they were. Travelling Parliament events involving groups of MSPs going out could be similarly vibrant, illuminating and accessible. It could be about much more than party political bickering in the Debating Chamber.

I mean its a great idea but costs would be enormous and engagement would still be low. There is a huge local democracy deficit in this country - perhaps using better resourced community councils (CCs)would be a better way. Any argument that CCs are not representative is partly self-fulfilling - CCs don't attract engagement because they are powerless and under resourced - rectify that and you'll have better engagement.

Map out all of the community centres, libraries, across all regions and ensure that local engagement can happen. Advertise opportunies to engage! Making sure the dates are arranged in advance and putting a bus on to make sure people who struggle to travel still get the chance to go out and visit these places so everyone can understand the role of people in parliament and visit the parliament

The first step should be to strengthen local democracy, better funded community councils and regional councils. The more engaged people are at the local level, the more likely to be engaged as a whole. The Scottish Government has become increasingly centralized and this does not aid engagement.

The Scottish Parliament already has 73 Constituency MSPs whose job is to represent their locality in the Scottish Parliament and ultimately their engagement with their constituency that will determine how engaged people feel to the Scottish Parliament. Furthermore local libraries and community centres already advertise Scottish Government events, consultations etc it's therefore hard to see what this proposal would add that isn't already taking place.

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