Committee meeting on track to break records in Alness

16/09/2009

A record number of people are expected at Alness Academy when the Public Petitions Committee meets there on Monday 21 September.

More than 100 primary and secondary school children from Alness, Dingwall, Invergordon and Dornoch are expected to attend the meeting alongside members of the public.

As well as considering petitions on safety measures on the A96, out-of-hours GP cover and free public transport for young people, the committee will hear from Alness Academy fifth-year pupils Andrew Page and Andrew Dannet, who have lodged their own petitions on payments for blood donations and equity in funding of school trips.

Committee Convener Frank McAveety said: “This is the first time a committee of the Parliament has met in Alness and it looks as if we will break all records for public attendance, which is great news.

"We hope everyone from members of the public, community groups and school children come along to watch a committee of their Parliament at work and take part in a question-and-answer session with committee MSPs about petitions, what the Parliament does and how to engage with it.”

Commenting on the Public Petitions Committee meeting, fourth-year pupil Miranda Strachan said: “It is good to know that our voices can be heard and taken seriously by the Parliament at our own school.”

Background
Since 1999, nearly 1,300 petitions have been lodged with the Parliament and considered by the Public Petitions Committee. These have been on issues as diverse as the availability of cheap alcohol, mandatory sentencing for carrying a knife and last year a petition which sparked our inquiry into the availability of cancer-treatment drugs on the NHS.

The committee’s role is to consider each petition lodged before agreeing what to do next. Options include writing to the Scottish Government, a local council, or other public bodies asking what action they will take.

The Scottish Parliament’s education outreach officers have visited three secondary schools in Dingwall, Dornoch and Invergordon in preparation for the Public Petitions Committee meeting.

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