public affairs

January 2017







Influencing policy and legislation

Robert McGeachy and Mark Ballard

In order to negotiate the landscape of Scottish politics successfully and engage effectively with the governmental institutions, the political parties and the various stakeholders and sectors in Scottish civic society, any individual or organisation will need a good public affairs guide. This book is such guide for the newcomer and a 'memory stick’ for the expert. It contains all a person needs to know to engage with the Parliament, the Government, local authorities and civic society in an effective and efficient way. This book shows how one can participate in that fast moving and interesting field and will become a tool for all who wish to get involved and achieve success in their endeavours.’
Michael P Clancy OBE

‘Effective and informed activity by MSPs, the Parliament, the Scottish Government and third sector bodies in taking forward legislation and promoting causes, whilst  protecting the most vulnerable is the best way to ensure a truly participatory, power sharing democracy and that is why this guide will be so useful ... Mark Ballard and Robert McGeachy, through the pages of this important book, are therefore doing democracy a service.’
Michael Russell, MSP for Argyll & Bute
Professor in Scottish Culture & Governance, The University of Glasgow


Written by two award-winning public affairs professionals,
The Public Affairs Guide to Scotland provides practical advice and guidance to individuals and organisations wishing to influence policy makers, and to contribute to legislative change in Scotland.

The Public Affairs Guide to Scotland strips away the mysteries and misconceptions of engaging with the Scottish Government, Opposition parties, MSPs and the civil service and explains how to deliver cost effective public  affairs activities that can achieve tangible outcomes.

Robert McGeachy and Mark Ballard’s step-by-step guide will empower private, public and third sector organisations to manage their own public affairs programmes, without the need to hire expensive consultants or specialist   lobbying companies, by comprehensively outlining:

 ·     What your organisation could achieve by developing its own in-house public affairs activities

·      How to identify the correct policy and legislative context via effective parliamentary monitoring and by engendering good relations with key policy makers

·      How to engage with the legislative process including Parliamentary Committees, Members’ Bills, Public  Petitions, Cross Party Groups, and Parliamentary Motions & Debates

·      How to create, organise and undertake a public affairs   programme most appropriate for your organisation including hosting parliamentary receptions, attending party conferences and joint-working with a partner organisation

Full of useful hints and tips, and written with the benefit of years of experience and success in the profession, The Public Affairs Guide to Scotland is the essential tool for those organisations needing to engage with the legislative process of the Scottish Parliament and its policy development.

The authors are award winning public affairs professionals, and have proven track records in helping to shape and influence  legislation and  policy development in the Scottish and UK parliaments. Mark Ballard is Head of Policy for one of the largest voluntary organisations in Scotland and an ex-MSP. Robert McGeachy is one of the few public affairs professionals in Scotland who can offer demonstrable public affairs experience of both the  Scottish and Westminster political systems, and legislative  processes. 

Foreword by Mike Russell
Preface by Michael Clancy
1. Stripping away the mysteries 
Parliamentary monitoring
3. Engaging with key policy makers
4. Working with individual MSPs
5. Working with politicians and political parties
6. Responding to consultations
7. Influencing Scottish Parliamentary Committees
8. Engaging with the legislative process:
   Pre-legislation to Stage 1
9. Engaging with the legislative process:

    Stage 2, Stage 3 and beyond
10. Members’ Bills
11. Oral Questions and Written Questions
12. Scottish Parliamentary debates
13. Parliamentary Motions
14. Public Petitions to the Scottish Parliament
15. Cross Party Groups in the Scottish Parliament
16. Parliamentary receptions and other events

17. Party conferences
18. Partnership working
19. Working with the Media
20. Online Communications
21. Influencing Local Government

Also of interest

The Public Affairs Guide
to Westminster

The Public Affairs Guide
to Wales

Aye or Nae
The Referendum Experience
in Scotland 1979-2014

The History
of the Scottish National Party

Scottish Political Parties
and the Independence Referendum


IndyRef to ScotRef
Campaigning for Yes