Draft Official Reports?!

Here we are in the final phase of the fourth Scottish parliamentary session. Our legislators will be very busy over the next eight months – there is a total of 30 bills on the stocks – and consequently, so will we.

Less obviously significant, but important to our readers, is a change that happened over the summer. The Parliament became its own publisher. That means that you will now see the words: “Published in Scotland by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body” on all our publications. We are responsible for our own legal deposit, on which we are collaborating with the wonderful National Library of Scotland and their official publications team. And we will no longer use ISBNs to identify publications.

Ceasing to use ISBNs means that we need to be clear about the status of different editions of the Official Report. It is important to say at once that our practice has not changed at all: we invest huge skill in the first edition that we publish and endeavour to make it as accurate and timely as we humanly can. We’re not perfect however, so we offer anyone whose speech we’ve reported the opportunity to suggest corrections to the first published edition. We have decided to identify the first edition as a draft because we want it to be clear that there may be small differences between the text of the draft  and archive Official Reports. We aspire to there being no difference at all.

We aim to publish the archive edition about 30 working days from the date of publication. Why 30 days? The Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee instituted a members’ corrections mechanism to enable members to correct factual errors that they have made while speaking, and the deadline for requesting such a correction is 20 working days, so we can’t archive earlier than that. The remaining 10 days give us a little time in which to apply any corrections and republish the report.

How will you know when the report is archived? The word “draft” will disappear from the html title and the cover of the PDF.

In short, “Draft” means the report may be subject to change, and you can expect to see a finalised edition in just over a month from the date of the report.

If you have any questions about the status of a report, or you’d like more information about our processes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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