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Political Shadowing Scheme: Joty Shadowing Kate Forbes MSP

Day One

Today was my first day at the Scottish Parliament with my allocated MSP Kate Forbes (MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch). The day started off on a positive note: I had a meeting with Kate and we were off to a good start. We discussed how much we have in common in terms of giving back to the community.

My tasks for the day were given to me, which included writing a motion, drafting key issues in her constituency and writing a summary about response after the business rates news.

We also decided it was a good idea to visit with her to her constituency office in Dingwall and get a chance to meet constituents.

I look forward to spending more days at the Parliament and with Kate’s office.

Day Three

Today was my third day at Kate’s office. I was given tasks to complete throughout the day. As part of my day, I was asked to summarise a short booklet about Industrial Strategy by John Mills. I took important notes from the book and wrote up a brief summary.

I booked my travel and accommodation to visit Dingwall and spend a day with Kate at her constituency office where she will be holding a surgery. Kate asked me to attend a meeting alongside her; the meeting was with Aberlour Trust, Scotland’s leading children’s charity.

Later in the afternoon I attended a session with the SPICe (Scottish Parliament Information Centre) team. They are the resource and information department in the parliament that provides factual, accurate information and analysis to members in support of parliamentary business.

My day ended with attending a parliamentary debate on the Education Bill, where I witnessed the motion being voted for.

Day Four

Today was my fourth day at Kate’s office. As part of my day, I finished up on last week’s task of summarising the Industrial Strategy booklet. I also wrote up a draft letter to one of the constituents who had emailed with a query. The query was something that was a local council issue, but I then wrote a draft letter to the respective organisation to chase up the matter on behalf of the constituent.

I did some research on the 'Deposit Return Scheme' for Kate, as she is due to speak about the matter soon and asked me to look into the background and give her as much detail as possible.

For the rest of the day, I researched information about the 'Deposit Return Scheme' as Kate is on the committee considering this and wanted more up-to-date information about the topic. I was also working on the project that Kate had given to me at the start of my shadowing.

Day Five

Kate Forbes' constituency office is based in Dingwall and I was asked to spend a day there. I travelled on the the evening before to join the team on the next day.

I was introduced to the rest of the team, and they spoke to me a bit about their role and how they handle case work and media communications.

I headed out with Kate to visit the places scheduled for the rest of the day. The first place we went to was a school for disadvantaged young people. Kate spent an hour there talking to the group of kids and telling them about her role as an MSP.

We then attended two surgeries, one in Lochaber and another one in Badenoch. I got to sit down with Kate while she listened to the constituents coming in with matters that concerned them in the local area. It was interesting to be on the listening side and realising how much as an MSP Kate does to make sure every matter is dealt with properly and in a timely manner by her and her team.

It was a busy day and packed with appointments, but I still managed to make my train back to Glasgow and now I can say, I covered parts of the Highlands in 24 hours.

Next week will be my last week with the office and I hope to learn more as the day goes by.

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