Scottish Politics Explained 2023

Politics Explained

Holyrood’s flagship Scottish Politics Explained event is returning, in-person at COSLA, Edinburgh, on 25 October 2023. The event will provide delegates with a thorough understanding of how the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government operate – covering everything from the role of an MSP and the parliamentary mechanisms at their disposal, to the powers of government.  

By attending this event, delegates will learn: 

  • About the structure and everyday workings of the Parliament;
  • How the Scottish Government runs and is held to account; 
  • How to influence and engage with policymakers and the media. 

Scottish Politics Explained is particularly relevant to those working in: 

  • Policy and/or public affairs;
  • Public relations and/or communications;
  • Campaigns. 

As we begin a new parliamentary term, and with a new First Minister and Cabinet in place, now is the ideal time to learn about the processes, people and structures that matter. Join us in October to learn from experts about the Scottish political system and network with colleagues who are also seeking to engage with parliamentarians and influence policy.

All attendees will receive a copy of Holyrood’s Communications Guide and Political Guide, and have the chance to win a year’s subscription to the Holyrood Magazine.

Helen Webster
Deputy Director for Cabinet, Parliament and Governance
Scottish Government
Lucy Scharbert
Head of Legislation and Delegated Powers
Scottish Parliament
Callum Thomson
Group Head for Scrutiny
Scottish Parliament
Gina Davidson
Convener of the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists Association and Scotland Political Editor, LBC
Pam Gosal MSP
Deputy Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government
Scottish Conservatives
Mark Ballard
Head of Policy for Scotland
National Deaf Children’s Society
Clare Haughey MSP Headshot
Clare Haughey
MSP for Rutherglen
Scottish Parliament
Brian Taylor
Political Commentator and Herald Columnist
Political Commentator
Kieran Andrews
Scottish Political Editor, The Times and Sunday Times
Dame Jackie Baillie MSP
Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care and Drugs Policy
Scottish Labour
Henry McLeish Headshot
Henry McLeish
Former First Minister of Scotland
Henry McLeish is a Scottish politician, author and academic who served as First Minister of Scotland from 2000 to 2001.
  • Structure and composition
  • Committees and Cross-Party Groups
  • Procedures and rules
  • Devolved and reserved matters
  • Overview of an MSP’s role
  • Constituency and parliamentary obligations
  • Input into the legislative process
  • How to meet an MSP
  • Practical tips and advice
  • Engaging with MSPs and the legislative process
  • Effective lobbying within the parameters
  • How Bills are introduced
  • The stages of a Bill
  • Who’s who in the Scottish Government 
  • Directorates and portfolios
  • Civil servants and ministers
  • The relationship with Parliament
  • Practical tips and guidance on how to engage with media outlets
  • Learn the industry ‘do’s and don’ts’ from a panel of experts
Discounted rates available

50% discount for students available using code UNI50

Reduced Rate


With annual income of less than £1m

£195 + VAT

Standard Rate

Public sector/voluntary/charitable

With annual income over £1m

£245 + VAT

Private Sector Rate

Commercial e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP

£295 + VAT

    Event Details
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