NEWS2 March 2022

Scottish parliament launches evidence week

News Public Sector UK

UK – The Scottish parliament has launched its first ‘evidence week’ with evidence charity Sense About Science.

Scottish parliament chamber

The evidence week will take place between 21st and 25th March, with researchers and constituents joining MSPs to discuss how evidence is used to make policy decisions in Scotland.

Events include people from across Scotland putting questions directly to policymakers, committee chairs and MSPs.

Subjects that could be discussed include prison sentencing policy, the impact of artificial intelligence and automation on employment, and the response to Covid-19.

MSPs will also be briefed by researchers on policy issues including climate change, homelessness and inequality, and the use of health and social data.

The evidence week follows similar events held with politicians in other parliaments, including the UK, Irish and EU parliaments.

Tracey Brown, director at Sense about Science, said: “In a single day MSPs may have to navigate complex policy issues such as homelessness, rural deprivation and indeed the pandemic, while approving measures to counter climate change and investigating the diverse issues affecting their constituents.

“Everyone depends on their resources and evidence know-how. This is why constituents and researchers are joining MSPs to launch Holyrood’s first evidence week.”

Siobhian Brown MSP, convener of the Covid-19 Recovery Committee at the Scottish parliament, said: “The evidence we gather from scientists, researchers and policy makers is crucial in informing our scrutiny of the government and its response to the pandemic.

“The last two years have clearly illustrated the crucial interplay of science and policy making, and the importance of robust data and scientific evidence in helping shape government policy.”

Professor Roger Halliday, chief statistician of the Scottish government and chief executive at Research Data Scotland, said: “The pandemic has shown us the benefits of doing data right, doing data together, and doing data better.

“Faster analysis and evidence gathering to support decision-making means better outcomes can be delivered more quickly to Scotland’s citizens.”