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Bill Gates and George Reid praise Scottish Parliament's innovative use of technolgy

Bill Gates, the Chairman of Microsoft Corporation, praised the technological innovations used by the Scottish Parliament to enhance public participation in the work of the Parliament, including the ITC's e-petitioning system.

His comments were made on the closing day of the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum at Holyrood.

Mr Gates commended the Scottish Parliament’s use of webcasting and the work of the Public Petitions Committee:

"The Scottish Parliament here is a good example of using [technology], they take the debates, the committees, and they put those up on the web, so you can watch as they are taking place, and go back and look at them later… The Scottish Public Petitions Committee, where people can come in and say their grievances, and that finds its way to people that are interested and uses the digital community to connect, to get feedback, to make things work in a better, more efficient way.”

The Presiding Officer (Right hon George Reid) described the e-petitions system in his opening speech, noting that "any citizen can petition this Parliament electronically in a process that can, and does, change the law." (opening ceremony)

In a question and answer session with young people, Chancellor Gordon Brown acknowledged the rising importance of Internet technologies to "involve everyone in the decision making process – in the future all the major decisions will involve people in the making of them. "

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