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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-11902: Tavish Scott (Shetland Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 9 October 2017

To ask the Scottish Government whether it placed restrictions on members of the International Council of Education Advisers who attended the council on 21 September 2017 interacting with the media and if (a) so, (i) for what reason and (ii) whether it will place a copy of guidance it provided to council members about this in the Scottish Parliament information Centre (SPICe) and (b) not, which members of the council (A) it asked about and (B) informed it regarding their availability for interview; which members of the media it informed about advisers' availability, and how many interviews were conducted.

Answered by: John Swinney 25 October 2017

ICEA members are free to interact with the media. They are independent of the Scottish Government and free to speak to media as and when they wish. Media are also able to approach and contact them to request interviews at any time. Decisions about whether to accept interview requests are a matter for individual ICEA members.

It is normal practice at ICEA meetings for council members to agree amongst themselves the nomination of one or more spokespeople to undertake media interviews.

The ICEA had a prominent programme of events while in Scotland for its third meeting – including headlining an open Q&A at the Scottish Learning Festival and International Improvement Conference for Education. Media attending the regular post-FMQ media briefing were informed in advance about the ICEA meeting on
21 September 2017. A reporter for a national daily newspaper was advised of the availability of ICEA members for interview at the International Improvement Conference for Education.

ICEA members conducted interviews with the Scottish Government’s multi-media unit and the EIS newsletter. No other interview requests were received.