Goodbye, Session 4!

Well, we’ve been rather quiet on here recently. With all the virtual tumbleweed, you might be forgiven for thinking we just swan off on holiday for the whole dissolution. Although we all make sure we take a well-deserved break—there were some exceptionally long days of meetings towards the end of session 4—that couldn’t be further from the truth. Read on to find out what we’ve been doing and check back to see our mini-series reflecting on on the parliamentary speaking careers of some MSPs who have stood down and won’t be returning on 6 May.

The Parliament might not sit during dissolution but we spend the time busily preparing for the new session. The last publications of session 4 have been checked and published in their final form. The database has been cleared out and all the session 4 reports have been moved into our archive area. Don’t worry, they are still seamlessly available through the OR search, but they are stored separately to keep our day-to-day production working at top speed.

We’ve also prepared the database for the new session. It is just waiting for the automatic data transfer from our colleagues, which will ensure that all returning and new MSPs’ details appear where they should in the correct format.

The spring clean—if you can believe it’s spring—continued in our reference library: all the old copies of bills and reference material that we used have been disposed of.

We’ve also updated a lot of information, such as our templates and our style guide, to ensure that Official Reports are consistent and meet our quality standards. We’ve designed new covers for our Official Reports to include the publication title in Gaelic, and we’re reviewing all our website pages to ensure that they are clear and helpful to our customers.

When Parliament isn’t sitting, we usually spend some time on quality issues, so reporters and sub-editors have been meeting for quality improvement discussions, helping one another to hone their work.

Work has also been undertaken on preparing to welcome new members to the Parliament and making sure that they know what use they can make of the Official Report. Quite a few of us have volunteered to be orientation guides for the new intake when they arrive at Parliament on Monday 9 May. We’ve had a dry run of a meeting in the Chamber and used the opportunity to test our business continuity arrangements to ensure that we can still function if an incident compromises our usual working practices.

With a week to go until the election, it is time to say our final goodbyes to session 4 and embrace all that session 5 will bring us. To mark this, a few of our reporters have prepared posts reflecting on the parliamentary speaking careers of some of the MSPs that we have reported over the years and who have stood down. We know that we won’t be welcoming them back on 6 May and we bid them a fond farewell. Keep an eye on our blog over the next week to see who is featured.

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