After willing my weekend to go as quickly as possible so I could be back at work, yes really! I started Monday of my second week by joining my MSP, James Dornan, and his staff in the Constituency office. The morning began by accompanying James on his first appointment which was a surgery he ran at the local library enabling his constituents to drop in and discuss issues face-to-face, this was then followed by two meetings with local businesses. This was a really interesting morning and it enabled me to see yet another facet to the role of an MSP; which is certainly varied. I then spent the afternoon with two members of James’ staff, Stewart and Ben, who led me through some of the case work they handle and discussed further the type of work they do. What really struck me was how wide and varied it was, no two cases, or days for that matter, appeared to be the same. Although I wouldn’t be based in the Constituency, I really valued my time spent here; the experience gave me further understanding of the work I would be doing at Parliament.
I returned to Parliament on the Tuesday for what was to be a busy week! I attended meetings with Outreach Services, Inwards Education and the Gaelic department, all of these were really interesting and they gave me an idea of how the Scottish Parliament is reaching out and engaging with the Scottish people. On Wednesday, I had meetings with the Clerks from the Welfare Reform and Health and Sport Committee’s. I had deliberately asked to find out more about these two Committees as I had an interest in the work they do. That was the great thing about my induction, it was tailored to my interests and what I ultimately hoped to gain from my internship. I had a basic knowledge of the role which Committees play in Parliament but these meetings really gave me a wealth of knowledge which was helpful for my role in the MSP’s office as James sits on the Public Audit Committee. Again, on the back of these meetings, I was offered the opportunity to shadow a Committee in more depth later on in my internship.
Later on in my 2nd week, I had a meeting about the role of Cross Party Groups at Parliament which was insightful. I have been a member of the CPG for MS since it began in 2013, so I found it really interesting to see how CPG’s worked from the Parliament perspective and I also got some useful hints and tips for running and effective one!
My final induction item that also rounded of my week was with the FM’s office. Now everyone referred to it as ‘FM’ and I was a bit astounded thinking surely I can’t be meeting the First Minister in my induction?! I was admittedly slightly disappointed to find out it was actually with Facilities Management! However, that disappointment was short lived when I spent a great couple of hours with the FM team, learning about their huge role of keeping the building and everything in it going! I learnt so much, from the hawk they employ to scare away the pigeons from the building to how they clean the debating chamber! The one thing I couldn’t get from them was the recipe for that shortbread!
What a couple of weeks! I was not let down by the weeks that followed either!