MacKay Hannah

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


Sir Paul Grice

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.

Susan Lowes

Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Scotland, Marie Curie

Susan joined Marie Curie in November 2014, bringing health and social care policy experience from a number of public and third sector roles in Scotland.  She has also recently completed a postgraduate qualification in public health in 2014.

Susan was a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Lobbying Working Group and is currently designing and delivering a training programme for all Marie Curie staff on the register. 

She has also been involved in delivering introductory training to a number of networks and other third sector organisations - as well as advising and acting as a sounding board for other organisation's policies and internal training on lobbying compliance.

MarieCurrieSCO SusanLowes3

Billy McLaren

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.

ScotParl SP_LobbyingScot

Andrew Henderson

Director of Public Policy, Pinsent Masons

Andrew Henderson joined Pinsent Masons in 2016, before which he was Head of Public Affairs and External Relations at a new challenger bank being created from within one of the UK’s largest financial services companies.  

Andrew has over 18 years’ experience in the public policy and strategic communications industry, operating across Edinburgh, London and the UK regions, and has advised a broad range of major PLCs, SMEs, third sector, and other organisations on their dealings with government, media and other influential stakeholders.

Educated in Politics at the University of Edinburgh, Andrew also has an MBA and is a member of both the Chartered Institute of Marketing  (CIM) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

Formerly a board member of Citizens Advice Edinburgh, Andrew currently sits on the board of The Rock Trust, a charity working to support young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Pinsent_Masons HendoA

Maureen Falconer

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.


Colin McFarlane

Account Director, Indigo

Colin McFarlane joined Indigo’s Public Affairs team in June 2015 and as Account Director advises a wide variety of clients, from global blue-chip companies to SMEs and third sector organisations on their strategic relationships with members of the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Government, the media and other key stakeholders.

Ten years prior to joining Indigo Colin held various roles in Edinburgh and London supporting MPs, MSPs and Shadow Ministers in the House of Commons, Scottish Parliament and within their respective constituencies, particularly on issues around public health and business. Colin has strong experience in building campaigns seeking to influence political change and offering insight into how to engage effectively with elected representatives.

Educated at the University of Stirling in International Politics, Colin is also the Secretary of Association for Scottish Public Affairs (ASPA).


Angela Constance MSP

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.


Andy Maciver

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.

MessageTweet AKMaciver

Sarah Chisnall

Founder InsightScotland

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.


Graeme Downie

Director, Orbit Communications

Graeme is a public affairs, stakeholder networks and media relations specialist with over 10 years experience. He began his career as policy officer in the Scottish Government before moving to London where he worked agency-side on a number of high profile campaigns with the UK Government, as well as on EU issues in Brussels. During that time Graeme worked with a diverse range of clients including airlines, foreign governments, tourism boards, transport organisations and major multi-nationals such as 3M.

Graeme moved back to Scotland in 2006 where he worked in sectors including telecommunications, renewable energy, construction and sports. This included advising Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) as part of their successful campaign to permit the responsible sale of alcohol at home internationals at Murrayfield Stadium.

Immediately prior to joining, Graeme headed up the communications activity in Scotland and Northern Ireland for innovation charity Nesta, working across a wide variety of devolved policy areas including economic growth and public services. In particular, this experience has given Graeme an excellent network of media and political contacts.

Graeme is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (MCIPR).


Lynda Gauld

Director, Baccus Consulting

Prior to establishing Baccus Consulting, Lynda was Head of External Affairs at Pfizer with responsibility for all aspects of External Affairs for Scotland and Northern Ireland. During her ten years with Pfizer, Lynda managed a number of highly successful partnership relationships and sought to identify new approaches to policy development in her field. She has obtained considerable experience in managing issues and corporate change.

Before working in the pharmaceutical sector with Pfizer, Lynda spent twenty years in the NHS as a nurse and a manager and three years as Regional Manager of the Institute of Health Services Managers (now Institute of Healthcare Managers) and has a strong working knowledge of the NHS and the public sector, its successes and challenges.

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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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