The Easterhouse campus of John Wheatley College in Glasgow is to host a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petition’s Committee on Tuesday 27 January.
The first part of the committee meeting in Easterhouse will take the form of a public meeting to gather views on the public petitions process. The committee will then hear from the petitioner who brought forward the e-petition calling for an independent inquiry into the outbreak of Clostridium Difficile at the Vale of Leven Hospital. In recognition of Holocaust Memorial Day, the committee will also consider a petition calling on the Scottish Government to continue funding educational trips for school pupils as part of the Lessons From Auschwitz Project.
The meeting is part of the committee’s year-long inquiry into the public petitions process. The aim of the inquiry is to improve awareness of, access to, and participation in the petitions process and examine how an increasing volume of petitions can be processed and scrutinised as effectively as possible. The committee is holding meetings in the north, south, east and west of Scotland to engage with people and provide an opportunity for them to have their say.
Committee Convener Frank McAveety MSP said: “As one of the most open and accessible Scottish Parliament committees, it makes sense for the Public Petitions Committee to come to what is billed as Scotland’s friendliest college.
"We want to ensure that the Parliament’s world-renowned public petitions system is fit for the future which is why we are so keen to hear from students, local residents and community groups in Easterhouse. Do they know the system exists? How could the system be better publicised and improved? We must continue to be innovative and creative about how we maintain and improve this direct route for citizens into their Parliament and the policy development arena.”
Since 1999, the Public Petitions Committee has considered petitions on subjects as diverse as the availability of cheap alcohol, the mandatory fitting of seatbelts on school buses, the availability of cancer-treatment drugs on the NHS. On 23 January 2009 it is hosting a debate in Parliament on knife crime on the back of a petition brought to it by John Muir. The Scottish Parliament was the world’s first to receive petitions electronically and the process has proven incredibly popular, with the public now recording more than 1,000,000 hits per month. Two-thirds of petitions submitted are now done as e-petitions.