Scottish Parliament green lights remote voting and hybrid meetings

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 12 August 2020 in News

Holyrood to allow members to use technology to vote and attend meetings

The Scottish Parliament has moved to introduce remote voting ahead of the return from recess, presiding officer (PO) Ken Macintosh has announced.

In a letter to MSPs, the PO also announced that parliament is now able to hold hybrid committee sessions, with some members present and some attending via video. At first, two committee rooms will be able to host hybrid meetings, but Macintosh said all six will have the capability by the start of September.

Writing to MSPs, Macintosh said he accepted that “many of the restrictions which have affected not only our day-to-day lives, but also how we work, are here for the longer term” and that it is “important that as a parliament we continue to provide new opportunities to support you in that work”.

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He said: “Following extensive testing, I am pleased to say that we will now be in a position to offer remote voting. The system, which will be available for use when we come back next week, will allow everyone taking part in chamber business to vote, whether you are physically present in Holyrood or participating by video conference.

“In putting this system in place, both the Parliamentary Bureau and the SPCB had to be satisfied that the voting system is sufficiently reliable and secure and the testing which has taken place over the summer recess has provided us with this confidence. The business team will be in touch with detailed support and guidance on the new system, but I hope you will welcome this innovation.”

Macintosh said the sitting pattern adopted before the summer – with MSPs sitting in the chamber in hybrid business on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with virtual meetings taking place on Thursdays – would continue, but that he expected to move towards the normal three-day sitting pattern in the autumn.


About the author

Liam Kirkaldy is online editor at PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood, where this story first appeared. He tweets as @HolyroodLiam.

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