Westminster Lens: Brexit Statutory Instruments dashboard

Is the government on track to meet its legislative target of at least 800 Statutory Instruments by exit day? How many Brexit SIs are being laid before Parliament each week? Which departments are laying the most SIs? Which Acts of Parliament are being used to lay them? How many SIs actually amend Acts of Parliament? How is Parliament scrutinising the legislation? Find out the answers to these questions and more on this  new data dashboard produced by the Hansard Society.

 

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Plans for Scotland’s Census 2021

For the first time in 2021, people in Scotland will be encouraged to fill out their census questionnaire primarily online, with support and help available for those who need it.

Plans for Scotland’s Census 2021’, published by National Records of Scotland, lays out proposals for how the census will be conducted and the questions it will ask.
Under the proposals, the census will ask new questions, including whether the respondent is a veteran. It is also proposed that questions on sexual orientation and transgender status and history will be asked. As set out in 2018-19  Programme for Government, a Bill will be introduced this parliamentary session to allow sexual orientation and transgender questions to be asked on a voluntary basis.

 

National Records of Scotland’s Web Continuity Service

At the end of last year National Records of Scotland’s blog published a short series about their new Web Continuity Service. Here’s a handy round-up of the posts:

  1. Websites as archival public records and the ‘looking glass’ into government

…government websites form an integral part of the public record. National archives, who capture, preserve and make available public records, are therefore taking steps to capture a representative record of this modern aspect of government. To do so, national archives are creating web archives…

Read the full post here

 

2.  What is web archiving? History, technology, collections

The World Wide Web was pioneered in the late 1980s to help share information more efficiently and effectively. Needless to say this new system proved to be a hit, leading to its global rollout in the early 1990s.  It didn’t take long for observers to ponder that there was probably a lot of content on the Web that would be worth saving for posterity (particularly due to its vulnerability to change), but how?

Click here to read more

 

3.  The NRS Web Archive and the NRS Web Continuity Service

The NRS Web Continuity Service went live in February 2017. Delivered as part of NRS’s Digital Preservation Programme, our service allows us to archive selected websites that fall within our statutory and strategic collecting remit, and make all archived snapshots accessible in the NRS Web Archive. After just a few months of operations, we are delighted to say that the service is fully functioning and delivering on what it set out to do.

To find out more, click here!

 

4.  Aiming for quality: selection, capture, QA and preservation of the NRS Web Archive

But what do we mean by ‘high quality web archive’? In web archiving, quality can be related to three elements:

  • Completeness – how much of captured website’s links, text, downloads etc. the crawler has been able to access and capture
  • Behaviour – how much of the navigational functionalities within the captured website snapshot have been preserved, compared to the live site
  • Appearance – how much the design, ‘look and feel’ and user experience of the website has been captured and preserved

See the full post here

 

Brexit Roundup: Where Are We Heading?

SCER-Logo

This is the latest    report from the Scottish Centre on European Relations (SCER)  a new independent and unaligned EU think tank, based in Edinburgh, that will inform, debate and provide up-to-the-minute, high-quality research and analysis of European Union developments and challenges, with a particular focus on Scotland’s EU interests and policies. This report covers topics from environment to devolution to trade to independence, it charts a rocky path ahead to any possible Brexit deal in the autumn – and the crucial question of whether such a deal will pass in Wesminster or face a further referendum vote on accepting it.

Scottish Lobbying Register goes live

Reblogged from SPICe Spotlight | Solas air SPICe

Scottish Lobbying Register goes live on Monday 12 March

Lobbying has a long and controversial history. For some, lobbying is synonymous with corruption, impropriety and an imbalance of power between big business interests and the individual citizen.  For others, lobbying is a legitimate and positive activity which underscores the right of people to represent their own interests to elected politicians and administrators and to influence the direction of public policy.

In most Western democracies, lobbying is regarded as an important and legitimate part of the policy-making and legislative processes. That said, many states recognise that lobbying is potentially open to abuse and seek to regulate its practice to some extent. States may, for example, legislate to ensure that lobbying activity is carried out in an open and transparent way, though the scale and nature of such regulation varies widely between states.

The ‘cash-for-questions’ scandals of  the 1990s and early 2000s, led the UK Parliament to pass an Act – the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014, which, among other things, established a Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists to regulate direct communication between paid lobbyists and UK government ministers and senior civil servants (permanent secretaries and equivalent).

Scottish Lobbying Register

Although Scotland has been untouched by such lobbying scandals, there has been a strong desire among politicians here to place lobbying activity above suspicion of improper influence. The Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 was, therefore, introduced to increase public transparency about certain types of lobbying. The Act introduces the concept of ‘regulated lobbying’ and places a statutory requirement on those who engage in regulated lobbying to register their lobbying activities.

If you are, or think you might be, engaged in regulated lobbying, you should know that the registration provisions of the Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 come into force on Monday 12 March when the new Lobbying Register opens for business.

So, what is regulated lobbying and who needs to register?

You may be engaging in regulated lobbying if all or part of your work or business is to inform or influence decisions by the Scottish Parliament or Scottish Government, either on behalf of your organisation or on behalf of those who you represent, and if this involves speaking face to face (including by video-conference or using BSL) with any of the following:

  • a member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP)
  • a member of the Scottish Government (Cabinet Secretaries and Scottish Law Officers);
  • a junior Scottish Minister;
  • a Scottish Government Special Adviser; or
  • the Scottish Government’s Permanent Secretary

However, not all such communications will be regulated lobbying, as a number of exemptions might apply. You do not need to register, for example if, in your communications with any of the above:

  • you are raising an issue on your own behalf
  • you are raising an issue with an MSP who represents the constituency or region where you live or where your company or organisation is based or usually operates (unless the MSP is a member of the Scottish Government, or you are communicating on behalf of a third party)
  • you are not getting paid, directly or indirectly, for this activity
  • your company or organisation had fewer than 10 full-time staff at the time (unless you are communicating on behalf of a third party, or in a representative capacity)
  • your communication takes place during formal proceedings of the Scottish Parliament
  • your communication was in response to a request from any of those listed above
  • your communication was for the purposes of journalism
  • your communication involved discussing negotiations on terms and conditions of employment
  • your communication was made by or on behalf of a political party
  • your communication was made in the course of a parliamentary cross-party group meeting
  • you are already exempt because your public role or the public role or functions of your organisation are listed in the Act as being exempt

The Lobbying Registrar has issued more detailed guidance on the Lobbying Act and a Code of Conduct for Persons Lobbying MSPs.

If you want to find out more about lobbying and registration requirements you can refer to this guidance.  You can also email the office of the Lobbying Registrar at: lobbying@parliament.scot  or phone 0131 348 5408.

Denis Oag

Head of Research and Library

Source: SPICe Spotlight | Solas air SPICe

SPICe Enquiries FAQ – Accessing GP records

SPICe regularly receives enquiries relating to constituents’ concerns over their health records held by their GPs.
We were recently asked what the legislative basis is for a patient’s right to ask for their NHS records to be changed or a note written by the patient to be added to the records where the patient has concerns about their content.
Read the full post at: SPICe Spotlight | Solas air SPICe

 

League of Nations archives being digitised.

Total Digital Access

In 2017, the Institutional Memory Section of the UN Library Geneva launched a major five-year project (2017-2022) to digitize the entire League of Nations archives, with the aim of modernising access to institutional memory for researchers, education institutions, and the general public.

This project, called Total Digital Access, will ensure digital and physical preservation and state-of-the-art free online access to around 15 million pages, or almost three linear kilometres of archival documents of the League of Nations (1920-1946), the first global international organisation aiming at the establishment of peace and cooperation and the precursor of the United Nations.

The project will result in 160TB of data, over 500.000 units of descriptive metadata, rehousing and conservation of all physical originals according to current standards, and modernised climate control and fire prevention.

Read more

A New (Beta) Interface for the UK Web Archive

At our last SWOP meeting Eilidh MacGlone (National Library of Scotland( gave a short presentation of this new interface.  I am reposting the information below from the OfficialpapersUK blog.

Please send your feedback to the BL as requested below.

The UK Web Archive has a new user interface! Please try it and give us your feedback by completing the short survey at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ukwasurvey01 . There are several new features:

  • For the first time you can search both the ‘Open UK Web Archive’” and the ‘Legal Deposit Web Archive’ from the same search box. The Open UK Web Archive was started in 2005 and comprises approximately 15,000 websites that can be viewed anywhere. The Legal Deposit Web Archive was started in 2013 and comprises millions of websites but these can only be viewed in the Reading Rooms of UK Legal Deposit Libraries.
  • We have improved the search and have included faceting so that it’s easier to find what you are looking for
  • A simple, clean design that (hopefully) allows the content to be the focus
  • Easily browsable ‘Special Collections’ (curated groups of websites on a theme, topic or event, including Brexit, the EU Referendum and the 2015 and 2017 General Elections)

Jennie Grimshaw, British Library

POST – Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

Post provides balanced and accessible overviews of research from across the biological, physical and social sciences, and engineering and technology. They place the findings of this research in a policy context for Parliamentary use.

The best known format for these briefings are ‘POSTnotes’: four page summaries of public policy issues based on reviews of the research literature and interviews with stakeholders from across academia, industry, government and the third sector; they are peer reviewed by external experts. POSTnotes are often produced proactively, so that parliamentarians have advance knowledge of key issues before they reach the top of the political agenda.

US National Archives Releases JFK Assassination Records

John F. Kennedy was killed on November 22, 1963

The USA’s National Archives is releasing documents previously withheld in accordance with the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act.  These releases include FBI, CIA, and other agency documents (both formerly withheld in part and formerly withheld in full) identified by the Assassination Records Review Board as assassination records.

Their collection page has links to the Warren Commission and Autopsy reports which are freely available to view.