MacKay Hannah

Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and MSPs: How they work and how to influence them

Thu 21st Feb 2019

Edinburgh, Royal Scots Club

OVERVIEW View Conference Agenda

This conference examines how the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament, Ministers and MSPs work and explains the policy and media context within which decision making in those organisations takes place. The conference is aimed at people and organisations who need to be heard in high places in order to influence policy and decision making.

The conference will examine how policy is made and how decisions are taken, what influences those decisions, the importance of the wider media and the political context in which government operates and the regulatory and political context within which influencing takes place.

This conference is aimed at providing you with a step-by-step guide to making your voice heard in the corridors of power. It will offer an insight into the relationship between Government, Parliament, politicians and media and give an understanding of the various stages and ways in which policy is developed and how decision making can be influenced.

Whether your interest is in legislation, policy, ongoing constitutional change or spending, the importance of understanding how and why decisions are taken - and the background context - is critical. The conference will look at the institutions that matter, the ways in which their decisions have effect, the influence of public debate and what you need to know about campaigning to be heard at the highest level.

If you want to be a policy weather maker then understanding how the system really works - and how to influence it - is essential.

Benefits of Attending

  • Hear from experts on issues affecting influencing, including Brexit, GDPR data compliance and the requirements of the Lobbying (Scotland) Act
  • Understand the policy ojectives of the Scottish Government, what minority government means and the influence of other parties
  • Learn how the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government work - and who to influence them
  • Examine the interests and motivations of each parliamentary party
  • Find out the role of the media in making and reporting the news - and influencing the decision makers
  • Discuss how to build an effective campaign
  • Discover what the instruments of influence are and how to operate effectively

Who Should Attend

The conference is aimed at any public, private or third sector organisation with an interest in who shapes policy, what legislation is passed, why budgets are changed, when you can act to be heard and where you can have impact so that people listen.

This includes: 

  • Senior management including Chief Executives, Directors, Managers and Policy Officers
  • Public affairs specialists including staff working in marketing, communications, engagement and public relations
  • Advisory and representative groups including policy makers, lawyers, professional representative organisations and trade unions 
  • Campaigning groups including third sector organisations, lobbying groups, sectoral and industry groups, single issue campaigning organisations
  • Private sector including companies, industry bodies and specialist advisors
  • Public sector bodies including local government, quangos/NDPBs, health, further education and emergency services


Sir Paul Grice

Clerk and Chief Executive, Scottish Parliament

Susan Lowes

Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Scotland, Marie Curie

Billy McLaren

Lobbying Registrar, Scottish Parliament

Andrew Henderson

Director of Public Policy, Pinsent Masons

Maureen Falconer

Regional Manager - Scotland, Information Commissioner's Office

Colin McFarlane

Account Director, Indigo

Angela Constance MSP

Member for Almond Valley, Scottish Parliament

Andy Maciver

Director, Message Matters

Sarah Chisnall

Founder InsightScotland

Graeme Downie

Director, Orbit Communications

Lynda Gauld

Director, Baccus Consulting

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This was an excellent event - speakers were well informed and each brought something different.

Steven Turner, The Salvation Army,
Scotland's New Lobbying Act Conference, September 2017

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