December 1st 2016 | The Royal Scots Club

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Keynote speakers

Joe FitzPatrick MSP

Minister for Parliamentary Business, The Scottish Government

Joe FitzPatrick was born in Dundee in 1967 and was educated at Whitfield High School.

He studied forestry at Inverness College where he became the first sabbatical president of the student union before going on to become the elected NUS convener for the north of Scotland. He also worked for the Forestry Commission and later continued his education at Abertay University, gaining a first class honours degree in science.

He was an assistant to Shona Robison and Stewart Hosie in the SNP constituency office in Dundee before being elected to Dundee City Council in 1999. He was elected to the Scottish Parliament in May 2007, winning the Dundee City West seat and going on to serve on the Holyrood Finance Committee.

He was re-elected in 2011 and was appointed convener of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee. In September 2012 he became Minister for Parliamentary Business.


Keith Aitken

Journalist and Broadcaster

Keith Aitken is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, and one of Scotland’s most experienced conference facilitators. His busy freelance business encompasses newspaper and magazine journalism, radio presenting, speech-writing, pod-casting, drafting corporate publications, and chairing all manner of public debates.

Since turning freelance in 1995, he has been a columnist for the Scotsman, the Herald and Scotland on Sunday. He currently writes a weekly column in the Scottish Daily Express, for which he also compiles a hugely popular weekly prize crossword. An accomplished author, he has contributed chapters on Scottish affairs to various books, and written a critically-acclaimed history of the STUC, The Bairns o’ Adam.

Prior to 1995, he spent 16 years at the Scotsman in a succession of senior editorial posts, including parliamentary correspondent, labour correspondent, industrial editor, economics editor, chief leader writer, and opinion editor. He is a graduate of Edinburgh University and a Trustee of the Scottish Mining Museum.


Rosemary Agnew

The Scottish Information Commissioner

Rosemary Agnew was appointed as Scottish Information Commissioner on 1 May 2012. As Commissioner, Rosemary is responsible for the enforcement and promotion of Scotland's freedom of information laws. She has a keen interest in developing a framework for continuous improvement in public authority FOI practice. She considers that FOI can be an enabler for authorities in terms of both effectiveness and transparency: FOI is the key to many rights and freedoms in our society and a significant driver to good public authority practice.

Her previous roles include Chief Executive of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and Assistant Ombudsman at the Local Government Ombudsman. Her extensive public sector experience has ranged from policy and business development to complaints handling, and, of course, FOI compliance. She has first-hand experience of leading the development of an open culture in a Scottish public authority – essential, in her view, for effective FOI.