CHAIR: PROFESSOR JOHN CURTICE
John Curtice is Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University and Research Consultant to NatCen/ScotCen Social Research. He was co-director of the British Election Study from 1983 to 1997, co-director of the Scottish Social Attitudes survey since 1999 and has been co-editor of the British Social Attitudes series since 1994. Recent publications include co-author of The 2007 Scottish Elections? Evolution or Revolution and co-editor of Has Devolution Worked? He is also a regular commentator on Scottish and British politics in both broadcast and print media.
DAVID ANDERSON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF SOUTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL
David was appointed as Chief Executive of South Ayrshire Council in April 2008. He was previously Corporate Director (Community) with East Dunbartonshire Council and prior to that Head of Service with both East Dunbartonshire and North Ayrshire Councils for some 10 years. David acts on behalf of Solace Scotland as the Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People and is also Vice Chair of the Young Scot Board and a member of the Elections Management Board for Scotland. His background in public service was initially in the field of community development.
RHONA BRANKIN, FORMER MSP AND MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES
Prior to her election to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, Rhona Brankin had a 24-year teaching career, in primary and secondary settings and subsequently as a lecturer on Education. Between 1999 and 2007 Rhona served as a Government Minister across a range of portfolios including Culture and Sport, Environment and Rural Development, and Health. Latterly she served as Cabinet Minister for Communities. In opposition she was appointed Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning.
Since standing down from the Scottish Parliament in March 2011, Rhona is developing a portfolio of interests. She is currently a Public Interest Member of Council of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, a Trustee of Mavisbank House, a Trustee of Leuchie House Respite Centre and a member of the Board of Arts and Business Scotland. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and an Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals.
DEREK COUPER, FORMER CHAIR OF THE SCOTTISH YOUTH PARLIAMENT
Derek Couper was elected as Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament in June 2009, securing re-election the following year before stepping down in June 2011. Derek is currently in his third year of study towards a law degree, at the University of Edinburgh. As part of his role as Chair of SYP, Derek represented the SYP on a number of external groups, including as a Vice-Convener of the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Children and Young People. Derek was also at the helm through the SYP’s mass manifesto consultation process, which collected 42,084 responses from young people, and presided over its launch ahead of the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections. In 2010 Derek was crowned 'Top Politician of the Future' at the Scottish Sun's Variety Awards.
GILLIAN LITHGOW, DEVELOPMENT MANAGER (NATIONAL PROGRAMMES), YOUTHLINK SCOTLAND
Gillian Lithgow has been a community learning and development practitioner and manager for 19 years. She has been with YouthLink for fourteen years and is currently responsible for the contract management of the CashBack for Communities funding programmes and the No Knives Better Lives delivery team. Gillian is also responsible for the development and promotion of the Participative Democracy Certificate, a credit rated award for young people involved in decision making roles. Gillian strongly believes that it is vital that youth work staff and volunteers are well trained, supported and informed so that they in turn provide a quality service for the young people they work with.
Gillian has represented YouthLink Scotland on a number of national development groups including; Standards Council for CLD, LLUK CLD Advisory Group, SCQF CLD Forum, CLD Up-skilling Advisory Group.
COMMISSION SECRETARY: STEVEN KIDD, DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, SCOTTISH YOUTH PARLIAMENT
Steven Kidd has been employed with the SYP since May of 2004, having previously been involved with the organisation as a Member, latterly as Chair. As the SYP’s Development Manager, Steven is primarily responsible for strategic development, including co-ordination of projects and programmes; Steven was responsible for the development and management of the 2011 Unified Elections Project. Steven has previously been involved in democratic engagement projects across the world and maintains an active interest in the connection of citizens to their civic structures. He is also a member of the British Council’s Transatlantic Network 2020 for emerging young leaders.