In 2014, I contacted the Scottish Parliamentary Petitions Committee clerk for advice on how to submit a petition to Holyrood around the use of restraint and seclusion in local authority day schools caring for children with disabilities.
I found those first few weeks daunting initially, but with the advice and expertise of the clerk, I was able to submit my petition in 2015, calling on the Scottish Government to introduce National Guidance on the use of restraint and seclusion in schools for staff caring for children with disabilities.
It's been three years, two committees and many submissions later, and I am proud to say that we have made great progress. None of this would have been possible without the clerks or the Committee itself. I have always felt they were approachable, knowledgeable and willing to help. They have helped with suggestions but at the end of the day, were very clear that this was my petition and ultimately it was up to me what to say and how I should proceed.
I have contacted all the Committee Members individually and found them to be absolutely professional and as passionate as I have been on certain matters. I felt that my cause was important to everyone involved.
I cannot praise the Petitions Committee and Clerks highly enough. This process hasn't always been easy. I will admit, I have found it frustrating at times, but I do feel I have been heard and respected.
My experience has been extremely positive and I would not hesitate to say to anyone thinking about using the Committee to highlight a cause to go ahead and do so.
Petitioner PE 01548