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SP Paper 654


The Assessment of the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions System 1999 - 2006

Dr. Christopher J. Carman, University of Glasgow

Commissioned by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre for the Public Petitions Committee


Executive Summary

Chapter One: Introduction

1.1 Overview
1.2 The Scottish Petitions System in Broader Context
1.3 Overview of Methodology
1.4 Overview of Report

Chapter Two: The Public Petitions System

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Why a Petitions System?
2.3 The Petitions Process in the Scottish Parliament
2.4 The Petitions Process and the Public Petitions Committee
2.5 Conclusions

Chapter Three: The Petitions

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Summarising the Petitions
3.3 Signatures as Support?
3.4 Types of Petitioners
3.5 ‘Serial Petitioners’
3.6 Non-Scottish Residents
3.7 Geographic Distribution of Scottish Petitioners
3.8 Petition Subjects
3.9 Conclusions

Chapter Four: Petition Consideration

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Referrals to Committees
4.3 Length of Petition Consideration
4.4 Petition Outcomes
4.5 Conclusions

Chapter Five: Survey of Petitioners

5.1 Introduction
5.2 Survey Data and Responses
5.3 Petitioners’ Characteristics
5.4 Petitioners and Their Petitions
5.5 Petitioners’ Evaluations
5.6 Predicting Petitioner Evaluations
5.7 Conclusions

Chapter Six: Petitioner Interviews

6.1 Introduction
6.2 Petitioner Interviews
6.3 Petitioners and Their Role in the System
6.4 Petitioners’ Concerns
6.5 Conclusions

Chapter Seven: ‘Successful’ Petitions?

7.1 Introduction
7.2 Assessing Petition ‘Success'

Chapter Eight: General Conclusions

8.1 Overview
8.2 Issues
8.3 What the Petitions System is Not

Annex A: Data Description

Annex B: Distribution of Petitioners