As our team gears up for what looks to be a busy election night, Account Manager, Jen Scott, reflects on a busy few months working in public affairs.

A busy few months for BIG’s public affairs team

There are peaks and troughs that everyone working in agency will experience, and the same goes for public affairs.

But, just over halfway into 2024, it’s safe to say that the last six months have been particularly full-on.

We’ve seen the collapse of the Bute House Agreement, two cabinet reshuffles in the Scottish Government, the resignation of Humza Yousaf, a brand new First Minister in John Swinney, and, to top it all off, a General Election campaign.

The month of May seems an eternity ago given all that’s happened since Rishi Sunak made his announcement in the pouring rain.

But, as the election is fast approaching, and with anticipation continuing to build for what looks to be a historic night, it’s worth reflecting on what working in a public affairs team has entailed during such a busy period.

A season of political engagement

The past few months have been particularly engaging for me personally, filled with valuable experiences that have deepened my understanding of both the Scottish and UK political landscapes.

I’m fortunate to work for an organisation that recognises the value of attending a variety of events, allowing colleagues to hear directly from key decision makers.

In May, I joined thought-leaders at Prosper’s Forum 24 event, which explored how we prioritise and accelerate the delivery of growth. It was valuable to listen to what Kate Forbes had to say as she outlined her vision for Scotland in her relatively new position as Deputy First Minister.  

Joining parliamentarians and fellow public affairs professionals at Holyrood Magazine’s 25 Years of Devolution event gave me another opportunity to hear from the DFM, as well as several former First Ministers, who reflected on their own experiences of Holyrood and how impactful they felt devolution has been for our country.

Most recently, I attended First Minister’s Questions in Holyrood, a real cornerstone of Scottish political life. Witnessing the robust debates and direct accountability in action was a reminder of the vibrance of our democracy.

A particular highlight of the last few months, I must note, was being selected as part of the studio audience for Debate Night’s Leaders Debate, which took place at the University of Glasgow last month.

Not only did this offer a comprehensive view of the diverse visions and priorities that each leader of the five main political parties brings to the table, but it also gave me an inside opportunity to watch the leaders off camera. Alex Cole-Hamilton was a real showman – engaging with the audience right up until the broadcast began, while Anas Sarwar and Douglas Ross gave very little away.

Having my mugshot feature on BBC Scotland several times has also given me a suitable claim to fame that I will be sure to milk for the rest of 2024.

Preparing for Election Night

Reflecting on the last couple of months reminds me of the importance of staying informed and engaged, especially in the lead up to a General Election.

Over the past few weeks, BIG’s public affairs team has been closely monitoring polls, analysing demographic data and identifying key issues that are shaping voter sentiment.

Alongside my public affairs colleagues, I’m now gearing up for what promises to be an intensive election night, filled with real-time analysis and updates.

I’m sure that the insights I’ve gathered over the past few months will prepare me for such a pivotal moment in this year’s political calendar, and I’m looking forward to the inevitably busy aftermath – no matter who will be entering Number 10.

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