MacKay Hannah

Scotland's Government, Scotland's Parliament and MSPs: How they work and how to influence them

Thu 5th Mar 2020

, Leonardo Murrayfield

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 2020 conference follows the very successful 2019 event and 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 information access, the Lobbying (Scotland) Act and Brexit
  • Understand the policy ojectives of the Scottish Government, what minority government means and the influence of other parties
  • Get informed on the undercurrents shaping old and new political parties and movements
  • Learn how the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government work - and how to influence them
  • Examine the interests and motivations of each parliamentary party
  • Find out the role of the media and social media in making and reporting the news - and influencing the decision makers
  • Discuss how to build an effective campaign
  • Discover your instruments of influence and how to use them
  • Consider the day to day work and perspective of MSPs and how this affects your objectives

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


James Drummond

Assistant Lobbying Registrar, Scottish Parliament

John Edward

Former Head of Office in Scotland, The European Parliament

Carole Ewart

Convener, Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland

Colin McFarlane

Director, Pagoda PR

Lynda Towers

Director of Public Law, Morton Fraser LLP

Andy Maciver

Director, Message Matters

Janis McCulloch

Press and Public Affairs Officer, Scouts Scotland

Donald Anderson

Director, Playfair Scotland

Lynda Gauld

Director, Baccus Consulting

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Well organised and great speakers.

Scotland's New Lobbying Act Conference, September 2017