Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and MSPs: How they work and how to influence them
Clerk and Chief Executive, Scottish Parliament
Current position: Clerk and Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament. Leads the Scottish Parliamentary Service which is responsible for delivering all services to the Parliament and its Members. The Parliament employs around 450 staff and has an annual budget of around £75m.
Previous career history: Graduated in 1984 from Stirling University. Joined the Civil Service through the “Fast Stream” in 1985. Worked for the Department of Transport and, subsequently, the Department of the Environment on Bus De-regulation, Railways Policy and Local Government Finance. Subsequently Private Secretary to Virginia Bottomley MP.
Joined the Scottish Office in 1992 working on Housing and Urban Regeneration Policy, then headed up the Management of Change Unit. Joined the Constitution Group in May 1997 with responsibility for the Referendum on establishing the Scottish Parliament: subsequently managed the Scotland Act which laid the new constitutional framework. Appointed Director of Implementation for the Scottish Parliament in 1999 – set up parliamentary organisation and associated support systems. Appointed Clerk and Chief Executive of the Parliament in summer 1999.
Appointed a member of the University Court at Stirling 2005-13 and chair of the Finance and Research Committee from 2008-2012. Hon Fellow RIAS. Appointed to Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in 2009 (chair of Audit Committee since 2010), appointed to the Bank of Scotland Foundation in 2011 and the Edinburgh International Festival Council in 2013.
Lobbying Registrar, Scottish Parliament
Billy McLaren was appointed as Lobbying Registrar in October 2016 following the passing of the Lobbying (Scotland) Act in the Scottish Parliament in 2016.
The Act is intended to increase public transparency of lobbying with an MSP or a Minister, Special Adviser or the Permanent Secretary within the Scottish Government, by introducing a register of lobbyists and monitoring compliance. The post of Lobbying Registrar has been created to assume operational responsibility for this work.
Previously Billy worked in Westminster, supporting the UK’s Attorney General as Assistant Private Secretary and then in Whitehall and Edinburgh, as part of Donald Dewar’s private office team when Secretary of State for Scotland and then Scotland’s First Minister.
He led a project team coaching civil servants to provide focused briefings for Scottish Ministers, creating, updating and storing this key material on an IT system developed and implemented to operate across all Scottish Government departments.
Following that, he worked in Glasgow on policy, evaluation and IT projects delivering programmes under a £350 million package of European regional development and social funds for Scotland.
Billy was recruited in 2009 to the Scottish Parliament, as Head of the International Relations Team.
From 2011 to 2016 he served as the Principal Private Secretary to the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer (Speaker) during the Parliament's first ever five-year session.
Regional Manager - Scotland, Information Commissioner's Office
Maureen Falconer joined the ICO in 2007. Maureen works with a variety of organisations, providing awareness-raising events to promote the Data Protection Act as a standard for good processing of personal information rather than it being viewed as a barrier. Maureen has a particular interest in the development of IT in respect of cyber security and the growth of cloud technology and works closely with colleagues from the health, education and local government sectors.
Prior to joining the ICO, Maureen worked in the Scottish Parliament as parliamentary researcher for Dennis Canavan MSP until his retirement in 2007. Coming from an academic background, Maureen lectured and researched in public administration with specific interests in education and health.
Member for Almond Valley, Scottish Parliament
Angela Constance was born, raised and educated in West Lothian. Prior to 2007, she worked as a social worker and mental health officer and was a local councillor in Livingston.
She has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament since May 2007, first for the Livingston constituency and now for the Almond Valley constituency.
Angela served as Minister for Youth Employment and then Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women's Employment. She was appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in November 2014 and following the 2016 Scottish Parliament election she became Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, serving in that post until June 2018.
Angela is a member of the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee and the Finance and Constitution Committee of the Scottish Parliament.
Director, Message Matters
With nearly 15 years in communications in banking and politics, Andy’s areas of expertise are corporate positioning, reputation management, strategic campaigns and writing.
He also has a background in branding and corporate ID renewal and is a regular contributor to political discussion on TV and radio.
Sarah set up InsightScotland in May 2011 having spent 12 years in one of the world's biggest communications agencies, Fleishman-Hillard. She was Managing Director of the Scottish business from 2004 – 2011. Sarah also sat on the UK Board and was Vice Chair of their Global Public Affairs Practice Group. During this time she helped clients influence and shape legislation and policy in Scotland across issues as diverse as network development; transport; alcohol licensing, retail, energy policy; planning, financial services; water and land reform for clients that included Tesco; M&S; Diageo; 3; HBOS and MITIE; The Royal highland and Agricultural Society. She also managed Scottish Development International’s (SDI) public relations account in the UK and across EMEA.
Before going into consultancy, Sarah spent almost 8 years in local government where she worked developing policy across local government, working with both elected members and senior management. She managed a major lobbying and information campaign around the legislation which created Scotland’s current unitary council model. She then spent over 4 years as the Policy and Public Affairs Manager of the Association of Scottish Colleges where she led successful communications and lobbying campaigns which resulted in winning substantial additional funding for the FE sector and greater recognition and profile of Scotland’s colleges in political, business and media circles.
Sarah graduated from Glasgow University with an MA honours in Politics (1989), from Stirling University with a MSC in Industrial Relations (1992) and is currently studying for a BSc in Psychology from the Open University.
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This was an excellent event - speakers were well informed and each brought something different.