Scottish Youth Parliament: Wikis


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Scottish Youth Parliament Ltd.
Type Company limited by guarantee
Founded 1999
Headquarters Edinburgh, Scotland
Area served Scotland
Key people Derek Couper MSYP, Chair
Liam Beattie MSYP MYP, Vice Chair
Industry Youth empowerment/representation

The Scottish Youth Parliament, also known as SYP, is a democratic, politically independent, inclusive, charity set up as a national voice for young people in Scotland.

Its mission statement says, "Our vision is of a stronger, more inclusive Scotland that empowers young people by truly involving them in the decision making process". In more detail, the SYP lists its aims as offering young people in Scotland a collective national youth voice; making a difference in society by increasing young people's participation by promoting a positive image of young people; connecting the processes of policy making and development with young people; being an independent and youth-led organisation free from influence where young people can give their views to policy makers without hindrance, fear or barriers.

Since its inception the SYP has been committed to being an organisation which involves young people across the whole of Scotland and, holds its 3 annual meetings in various locations throughout the country; From the Shetland[1] and Orkney[2] islands to venues in the City of Edinburgh. The work of the SYP is centred around involving young people in the decision-making process, particularly in consulting with young people and campaigning for these views to be adopted by the relevant decision-makers.



Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) are elected for two year terms, must be aged 14–25, and are elected in one of two ways:

  • As a constituency representative (two for each Scottish Parliamentary Constituency to a total of 146 MSYPs)
  • As a representative of a national youth voluntary organisation such as the YWCA, LGBT Youth Scotland and Down's Syndrome Scotland (two for each organisation to a maximum of 54 MSYPs)

Constituency MSYP elections are organised by the local authority responsible for that area (e.g. City of Edinburgh Council organise elections for Edinburgh MSYPs) and it is the responsibility of the local authority to support their elected MSYPs. MSYP elections are organised by the relevant local authority and use either the STV or FPTP voting systems[3]. Voluntary Organisation MSYPs must be elected from an organisation that represents young people from the whole of Scotland and once more that organisation is responsible for supporting their MSYPs.

The SYP is youth-led, and holds internal elections annually to appoint a Board of Trustees, consisting of a Chair, Vice Chair and Three Trustee Directors. Also elected are 10 Subject Committee Conveners, who form the organisation's Conveners Group and select a further Trustee Director to join the Board. The Committee Convener takes on responsibility for co-ordinating the work of their Subject Committee and becomes the lead spokesperson on in that area. The Committee can also choose a Deputy to assist the Convener if deemed necessary.

These two groups of board members & Conveners help to lead the organisation. Youth empowerment being a fundamental key to the organisation, no major decisions are taken by anyone over the age of 25.


The Scottish Youth Parliament was launched on the 30th June 1999 in Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh[4], one day before the first meeting of the Scottish Parliament. This was a result of almost ten years of hard work by a group of young people and youth workers who were committed to the idea of a forum to give young people a voice in Scotland.

The Scottish Youth Parliament has previously held Sittings in the General Assembly Rooms (former temporary home of the Scottish Parliament) in Edinburgh[5] and also within the new Scottish Parliament building[6]. It meets 3 times a year in different locations throughout Scotland.

Partner organisations

The Scottish Youth Parliament works with many other organisations. For example The Scottish Government; [1],Oxfam Scotland; [2], CIVICUS; [3],Scottish Local Authorities, UK Youth Parliament; [4], Funky Dragon; [5], Northern Ireland Youth Forum; [6], Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People; [7] Young Scot; [8], YouthLink Scotland; [9], and the British Youth Council; [10] amongst many others.


Years of Office Name Constituency/Voluntary Organisation
2000–2001 Steven Jack STUC Youth Committee
2001–2002 Katrina Greig Hamilton North and Bellshill
2002–2004 Steven Kidd Motherwell and Wishaw
2004–2005 Paul Kane Glasgow Springburn
2005–2007 Rajiv Joshi Glasgow Govan
2007–2008 John Loughton Edinburgh North and Leith
2008-2008 Kieran Collins Edinburgh South
2009-2009 Sam Kerr LGBT Youth Scotland
2009–Present Derek Couper Livingston

Coverage in the Media

John Loughton who became prominent when he appeared on and won the E4 reality show Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack in 2008[7] was the former Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament between 2007 and 2008.

On 8 October 2008, The Scottish Sun reported on the suspensions of SYP members, including Chairperson Kieran Collins and Health Convener Daniel Robertson after an alleged alcohol-fuelled party the evening before an SYP sitting. This report came just after the Scottish Government's plans to raise the legal age to purchase alcohol to 21 were rejected in Parliament.[8]

On 28 July 2009, the Scottish Trades Union Congress voted to boycott the Scottish Youth Parliament, acting on reports in the News of the World suggesting that 2 Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament had family links to the British National Party.[9]

Austin Sheridan MSYP for Glasgow Govan was also criticised for supposedly saying he would never work with any BNP member or supporter while in office, the story made the youth BNP website, Austin Sheridan MSYP denies such claims and said that he listens to all of his constituents and treats everyone fairly.[10],

The Scottish Youth Parliament was also accused of trying to stop MSYPs expressing views by a constituent of Austin Sheridan MSYP, the constituent said "the SYP do not like members speaking against the BNP, But well done Austin for standing up for what he believes in!" the constituent then went onto say "I don't understand why MSYPs cant speak their mind!"[11]

See also


General Information comes from "Guide to SYP" available on the Scottish Youth Parliament's website[12]

  1. ^
  2. ^ "Scottish Youth Parliament Meeting in Orkney, September 2007 - by Christopher Blakesley (Blakes) MSYP - Young Scot". Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  3. ^ SYP Voting System
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Photocall and public meeting: Scottish Youth Parliament meeting in Scottish Parliament chamber for first time". Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  6. ^ "Scottish Parliament - News - Youth Parliament To Sit At Holyrood". Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  7. ^ "John wins Big Brother hijack show". BBC News. 2008-01-29. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  8. ^ "Youth Parly booze shame". The Scottish Sun. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  9. ^ Scottish Trades Union Congress. STUC Youth Conference to call for Boycott of the Scottish Youth Parliament in BNP challenge. Retrieved on 2009-06-27.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links



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