This project will create a forum for parliamentary caseworkers. Parliamentary caseworkers assist Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) with requests for assistance from their constituents.
This is a very challenging role, requiring political acumen, wide knowledge of public service delivery, inquisitiveness and tenacity, and empathetic communication. Parliamentary casework represents a substantial advice service, with over 180 caseworkers dealing with more than 100,000 cases a year. The creation of the caseworker forum will allow caseworkers to support each other, identify best practice, and benefit from the expertise of academics and other experts through a programme of knowledge exchange.
The creation of the forum arises from a recommendation in a report by Dr Chris Gill charting the ‘hidden work’ of MSPs in helping their constituents. This work was carried out in the course of Gill’s Scottish Parliament Academic Fellowship. The report found, among other things, that caseworkers would benefit from being provided with additional support and from a more proactive approach by the Scottish Parliament. This research was carried out as part of Gill’s wider research agenda looking into access to justice and the mechanisms available for individuals who have suffered injustices in their dealings with public authorities.