National Qualifications – estimating success: a response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Pupils and students across Scotland will receive their Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) grades on Tuesday 4 August 2020. 

But, of course, this year will be very different.  The qualifications which get the most attention are National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers. This year these qualifications will not be based on candidates’ coursework and exams, but rather will be based on their teachers’ judgements.

This blog, from the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe) , will look at the cancellation of the 2020 exam diet and the method of certification the SQA has put in place for those qualifications.  


Brexit Update from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, 29th June 2019

Brexit Update Latest Issue #89




  • Who has responsibility for Brexit in the new Cabinet?
  • What is the new Prime Minister’s Brexit policy?
  • Reaction from the Scottish Government
  • Reaction from the European Commission
  • Reaction from Ireland


  • New UK Government no-deal preparations
  • Commons Report: consequences of no-deal for UK business
  • OBR: no-deal fiscal stress test

Back Issues

SPICe have been producing the Brexit Update since 15 September 2016. Catch up on past editions at the following link:


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


Scottish Parliament committee reports and research briefings – the brave new world of XML and self-publishing

In now 5 sessions of the Scottish Parliament, parliamentary committees and our research service – SPICe – have published hundreds of reports and briefings as part of their consideration of legislation, inquiries, petitions and the myriad of different issues that make up a modern Parliament.

But we’ve never sought to improve the look and utility of our documents. We’ve always published them online, but given little thought to what the reader wants. With the explosion in the growth of PCs, tablets and smartphones, providing documents designed for the digital age is key. So is thinking about what the reader wants to read – 200 pages of closely typed text with a beginning, middle and the conclusions right at the end, or bite-sized chunks of information with the main messages and conclusions upfront?

As part of the Parliament’s overall Digital Programme, committee reports and SPICe briefings have been overhauled and modernised. This has involved a move towards an XML editing tool to enable us to write in HTML for direct publishing to the web. Whilst the PDF is not quite dead – it still forms our historic record for archival purposes – the aim is to focus on the online versions to make them more readable, with a higher content of infographics and multi-media, and with the purpose of allowing the reader to read as much or as little and s/he wants.


Before and After—Impact-on-Scotland

For more information, contact: Stephen Imrie,



SWOP Directory highlight: Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe)

Another wee piece of news via recent SWOP Directory entry updates, in case you didn’t notice…

The Scottish Parliament has a lovely new dotscot domain name:

Though the clever IT boffins have linked it to their old one for pain free re-direction, it does mean SPICe’s email address has changed too. They can now be contacted at:

Also, for your information, particular strengths of the SPICe collection are:

Laid papers, items associated with parliamentary question responses.

Thanks to Kathryn Appleby-Donald  for the updatelogo


SWOP meeting – June 2014

We had most enjoyable SWOP meeting today at the Scottish Parliament building.  The meeting was followed by an interesting presentation by Francesca McGrath, Senior Researcher at the Scottish Parliament.  Francesca showed us the Scottish Parliament Information Centre’s Referendum Hub 

In the run up to the referendum there has been a lot of information produced by a variety of commentators on all sides of the debate. Material on the Referendum Hub site has been selected by impartial researchers within the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), who have made every effort to ensure both sides of the debate are fairly represented. 

More details on the content of the Referendum Hub can be found here:  Referendum Hub