Increased visitor numbers, more events and a ground-breaking new community project are just some of the highlights featured in this year’s Scottish Parliament Annual Report, published today.
Spanning the period from 9 May 2008 to 8 May 2009, the Annual Report covers the day-to-day work of Holyrood, including in-depth information on each parliamentary committee, as well as a look at key chamber debates and legislation.
The theme of the report, in this the Scottish Parliament’s 10th anniversary year, is on engagement, as Holyrood and its processes are open to a wider number of people than ever before.
A total of 336,629 people visited parliament during the year, with more than 90,000 either attending exhibitions or taking part in one of nearly 500 events, conferences, briefings, displays and debates.
Holyrood also opened its doors to 120 delegations from the UK and around the world – and a revamped parliamentary education programme has already seen 15,083 young people taking part since September 2008.
Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: "This report reflects a busy year of Parliamentary activity in both our Chamber and our committees. As well as this, the figures make it clear that we are reaching out and connecting with more of Scotland’s people than ever before.
"We continue to build on these strong foundations as a Parliament committed to public engagement and will use our tenth anniversary year as a platform for strengthening this very clear commitment.”
During that time, nine bills received royal assent and became Acts of the Scottish Parliament. Two of the acts were promoted by backbench MSPs, one was a committee bill and the remaining six were Government bills.
The new Acts included:
- Public Health etc. (Scotland) Act 2008
- Disabled Persons’ Parking Places (Scotland) Act 2009
- Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) Act 2009
- Scottish Register of Tartans Act 2008
- Scottish Parliamentary Pensions Act 2009
One hundred and twelve new petitions were lodged through the Scottish Parliament’s innovative public petitions system and a new initiative, the Community Partnerships Project, launched in April 2008, has worked with blind and partially sighted people, difficult-to-reach young people and people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds to help them to get involved with parliament and its activities.
Other facts and figures from the 36-page report include.
- A total 2,548 parliamentary motions and amendments were lodged this year on a range of topics including Robert Burns, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy MBE and New Lanark World Heritage site.
- In 2008 Holyrood’s fourth Festival of Politics again welcomed thousands of visitors to a mix of politically-themed debates, lectures and events.
- In August 2008 a new SMS text messaging service was launched to extend the ways in which the public can get in touch with Parliament for information.
- For the first time in the history of the Scottish Parliament, the Presiding Officer undertook a two-week programme of visits to local communities around north and east Scotland during the summer recess of 2008.
Copies of the Annual Report are sent to a wide range of organisations, all Scottish secondary schools and partner libraries in every constituency. A Gaelic version is also available. Copies are also available by phoning 0131 348 5000.