The Parliament should run a general information campaign explaining the role of the Scottish Parliament – a single brochure or leaflet explaining who your local MSPs are, what a call for views is and the role of the Parliamentary service and its impartiality and separateness from Government. All age ranges may need more information on what the Parliament does and what it can do for them. We think this is something that could be done quickly.
People tend to not understand the difference between the Parliament and Scottish Government. Agreed that a broad campaign covering a range of media that is attention grabbing would be a great way to re-connect people with democracy and inspire democratic engagement.
People need to know how the Scottish Parliament works, and how it works in relationship to the Scottish Government. Ignorance is not bliss and more people might engage with the election process if they understand the system and how it can affect them locally.
Increase opportunities for engagement/training events too using existing community networks. People who think they are not interested in the Scottish Parliament are not going to read a leaflet. But they may engage more if the opportunity comes through people they already trust - or if it relates to issues which they are interested in.
Most pupils said they would not read a leaflet about the Scottish Parliament and said that using social media would be better way to reach young people: YouTube shorts or TikTok were deemed the best mediums. They said that the Parliament should use celebrities to share information. One pupil questioned the use of a paper resource when we were increasingly moving to a paperless society: “it would go straight to recycling in many houses, or even just the bin.”
Inclusiveness is important. The campaign would require a range of forms of dissemination, from leaflets (adhering to accessibility guidance on font, use of visual aids, with versions in an easy read format), simple infographics for social media sharing, to videos. The content should focus on a general information about who, what and why, and shadowing specific individuals. I'd personally be interested in a comparison between what it does currently and what it would be doing if it had full power.
Why a leaflet? What about a behind-the-scenes series of documentaries on television. Similar to 'The Council'. The Scottish Parliament at 25 (or close enough).
Encourage more party-neutral communication of parliamentary business. For example, why are elected members allowed to add party branding to video footage of them asking questions in the Chamber?
This should be a regular campaign - if cost permitting I would hope for a regular leaflet once a year. That way, no matter whether you stay in one constituency all your life, or regularly have to move due to work etc you are at most only 11 months away from being directly informed about who your elected representatives are.
Any information produced should be disability friendly and in EASYREAD, Braille and audio formats. EASYREAD is great for people with disabilities but also it makes it easier for all people to understand and it means people with disabilities can explain information to others. People need to know the powers the Parliament has, what people can and can't do.
Pupils recommended that information should be presented via social media platforms and should be presented in a short, snappy and entertaining way such as using trends on tiktok.
Pupils from Galashiels Academy said that the majority of young people would not read a leaflet about the Scottish Parliament as "there would too much to read which would bore us." They suggested any leaflet would need to be colourful and pop (off the page) so more people would be likely to read it.
Pupils felt that leaflets were not relatable or the most effective way to reach and engage young people. They said young people would be more likely to engage via short videos on social media and should be marketed in a fun way rather than simply presenting facts and statistics. Radio and TV adverts would be more successful than leaflets.
Advertisement on bus information boards would be useful especially as a lot of young people travel for free on the bus and use services frequently.
Parliament could arrange for surveys to be completed in schools, even if there was an expectations that pupils should complete a relevant survey once or twice per term Parliament staff and MSPs visiting schools and informing pupils about ways to engage. Organise more visits to Parliament so pupils can experience the Parliament while learning about it.
Senior pupils should have the opportunity to visit parliament for job shadowing placements - showing young people the different jobs that take place in Parliament.
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This content is created by the open source Your Priorities citizen engagement platform designed by the non profit Citizens Foundation