Members of Angus Citizens Advice Bureaux social policy team recently visited the Scottish Parliament. Mairi Buchanan of the Angus and Tayside service reports:
On the back of the Arbroath Parliament Day in November last year, a visit was arranged for the Angus Social Policy Team (ASPT) to visit the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday of last week. On arrival, we were met by Hayley Cole, a Learning Resources Officer part of the Outreach team at Holyrood. After a maze of many corridors and lifts we were led to a committee room in Queensberry House, the oldest part of the new Parliament. Hayley took us through a presentation about the various ways we can engage with Parliament:
• 14 committees (1 for each department)
• Written questions
• Question time
• First Minister's questions
• Government debates
• Members' debates
• Cross Party Groups
• Information/exhibition stands
• Outreach, etc.
Thereafter, we were taken on a tour of the building, learning about the significance of the architecture, art work and in particular the layout of the committee rooms and the set up in the debating chamber – we even bumped into Alex Salmond! After being treated to lunch, we were met with and had a Q&A with three of our North East MSPs – Jenny Marra, Lewis MacDonald and Graeme Day of whom most pledged to make our voices heard and at the very least read our local briefing papers and evidence reports.
Our day culminated with a seat in the public gallery of the debating chamber, where we were able to experience an exchange between all parties on Scotland’s Future – a fitting end to a memorable day.
It was a great experience for the ASPT, providing a platform for better teamwork and an appreciation of engagement through Holyrood.