What is the Scottish Youth Parliament?
The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. Elections are held every two years, in which young people from all across Scotland stand as candidates to become Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs).
MSYPs range in age from 14 to 25, and represent constituencies in all 32 local authorities throughout the country, and several national voluntary organisations. SYP was established on 30th June 1999, making it one day older than the Scottish Parliament.
So What’s It All About?
The Scottish Youth Parliament represents Scotland’s young people. Their vision for Scotland is of a nation that actively listens to and values the meaningful participation of its children and young people. Their goal is to make this vision a reality, in order to ensure Scotland is the best place to grow up.
SYP is fundamentally rights-based organisation, and their mission, vision, and values are grounded in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). In particular, their purpose embodies Article 12: that young people have the right to express their views freely and have their opinions listened to in all matters affecting them.
As a completely youth-led organisation, the words and sentiment of Article 12 have profound importance for their work.
The democratically elected members listen to and recognise the issues that are most important to young people, ensuring that their voices are heard by decisionmakers.
The SYP exist to provide a national platform for young people to discuss the issues that are important to them, and campaign to effect the change they wish
Democracy: They are youth-led and accountable to young people aged 12 to 25. Their democratic structure, and the scale of engagement across Scotland gives them a mandate that sets them apart from other organisations.
Rights: They are a fundamentally rights-based organisation. They are passionate about making young people aware of their rights, and ensuring that local and national government deliver policies that allow those rights to be upheld.
Inclusion: They are committed to being truly inclusive and work tirelessly to ensure the voices of every young person from every community and background in Scotland are heard.
Political impartiality: They are independent from all political parties. By working with all stakeholders, groups, and individuals who share their values, they can deliver the policies that are most important to young people.
How does an SYP election run?
Registration is opened for young people to express their interest to stand for election in their local constituency or for a voluntary organisation such as the Guides or LGBT. Registration is open for a given period and we keep you up to date as to when the deadline will be with media announcements.
Once the expression of interest phase closes, we gather all the names of the young people and invite them to attend a welcome and training session locally. At this point young people will get more information about what the role of an MSYP involves. Young people can then decide if they want to continue standing or if they want to withdraw.
After some training we then run the campaign stage where the young people standing campaign to be elected. This may be through social media, posters, talks at school or any other original way. We also hold hustings so that other young people in their constituency can get to ask them questions such as, ‘why are you standing to be an MSYP?’ or ‘what will you do about transport if you are elected?’
How do I Get Involved?
In Argyll & Bute we have three representatives, two MSYPs Argyll & Bute and one MSYP represents Helensburgh & Lomond (seat shared with West Dunbartonshire). So when all the votes are counted and we have our three winning MSYP elects we hold an official announcement to let all the candidates know the results. After the announcement the three new MSYPs are still MSYP elects until the next Youth Parliament sitting when the previous MSYPs stand down.
MSYPs are supported through their time in office by a support worker in their local area who will work with them to attend sittings, hold meetings, consult with their constituents and much more.
So if you are interested in standing as our next MSYP get in touch. No need to wait until the next elections, as we welcome people to get involved early on by supporting the current MSYPs and learning more about the role.
30th of September
Deadline for expressing interest in the programme.
1st of October – 30th of October 2021
Promotion of the election, organising local hustings, working with schools and local youth organisations and partners to encourage as many young people as possible to vote.
8th – 21st of November 2021
Voting will open for all young people 12-25 in Scotland on 8 November and close on Sunday 21 November.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Visit the SYP Website here for further details about the wider organisation.