Centre for Scottish Public Policy

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According to its website, the Centre for Scottish Public Policy (CSPP) is

An independent think tank providing a focus for imaginative and innovative policy debate on the key issues facing Scotland.[1]

The CSPP says its aim is the "promotion of an imaginative policy debate" by "organising opportunities for politicians, policy thinkers and practitioners to meet and to learn from each other."[2]The website adds that the CSPP was formerly known as the John Wheatley Centre.[3] As of 2009 the CSPP's chief executive is Ross Martin (appointed 2004), a former Labour Councillor and failed Labour candidate for a seat in the Scottish Parliament in 1999.[4] He followed Gerry Hassan, who was previously head of communications at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) lobby group[5]. As of 2009 Hassan is working with think-tank Demos on the Scotland 2020 project[6].

Prior to his new position at the CSPP, Martin was head of the Scottish Forum for Modern Government at Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University. This institute, set up in November 1999, has effectively ceased to exist. According to an article in the Edinburgh Evening News, Martin wants the CSPP "to act as a bridgehead between the government and the people they seek to govern by providing opportunities for engagement, by challenging vested interests".[7] In an interview with Hartwig Pautz, Martin said that he wants the institute to be seen as "centre-left", although not aligned to a political party.[8]

The CSPP is pursuing research into public service reform in Scotland[9]. According to an interview of Martin by Hartwig Pautz, it has received sponsorship among others by BAA Scotland, the European Parliament and the German Social Democratic Party’s Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation.[10]


The CSPP used to be called the John Wheatley Centre. It was named after the respected Independent Labour Party MP, who passed legislation enabling government action on Glasgow's Housing Problem, a major cause of misery in the city at the time.

The Centre says it is "independent of political parties" and that its programmes "involve a wide range of experts drawn from across the Scottish body politic"[11].

2005 Board of Directors

  • Prof. Alice Brown: Scotland's Public Appointments Ombudsman, former member of the (Neill) Committee on Standards in Public Life, and on extended leave from the Dept. of Politics Edinburgh University. She was an early supporter of the Scottish Parliament Business Exchange.
  • Gordon Dalyell: Solicitor, Wheatley Centre on Law Reform.
  • Mark Lazarowicz: An Advocate, and former Labour councillor. He stood in the '92 election as a Parliamentary Labour candidate in the Edinburgh Pentlands seat, losing to Malcolm Rifkind by 4,290 votes. It had previously, in 87, been a Labour majority of 1,859. He is the convener of the CSPP.
  • Anne McGuire: Labour MP for Stirling, was appointed Donald Dewar's Parliamentary Private Secretary. Shortly after the conference she was the principle "gate keeper" who drew up the list of prospective (i.e. acceptably right-wing) Labour candidates for the new parliament. An ardent sycophant, she took the opportunity of prime minister's question time to ask: "Does the prime minister recognise that our emphasis over the past year on the economy, health and education has kept faith with the voters?" She has since held ministerial posts in the Scotland Office, the Department of Constitutional Affairs and the Department of Work and Pensions.
  • Rosemary McKenna: Labour MP. On the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee which enquired into "welfare to work." The Herald of 24/3/97 reported that McKenna's appointment to the seat of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth was accompanied by the purge of the Home rule faction of the local party at the conference in Inverness. According to William Clark, writing in Variant, fears were voiced that this had been "engineered to give a clear run to councillor Rosemary McKenna, who is a leading figure in Network, the pro-leadership grouping which orchestrated the Inverness slate".[12] The Network has been described as "garrulous college leavers anxious to be seen doing the leader's bidding."[13] Its origins are said to be in Jim Murphy, another new MP and responsible for the acceptance of student loans while President of the NUS. He was assigned as "special projects officer" by those in the Scottish Labour Party hierarchy anxious to bee seen as Blairite. The big "success" of the network was McKenna's election.[14]
  • Henry McLeish: Labour MP who was the late Donald Dewar's second in command. Minister for Home Affairs, Devolution and Transport, was opposition spokesman on social security i.e. the country's chief exponent of workfare. McLeish succeeded Dewar as Scotland's First Minister in 2000 but had to resign in controversial circumstances over constituency office expenses[15], events that he described as "a muddle not a fiddle"[16].
  • David Martin: Labour MEP and former Vice-president of the European Parliament (which funds the CSPP) for ten years; an ex-stockbroker's assistant.
  • David Millar: Formerly a clerk in the house of Commons, then director of research at the European Parliament, now with the Europa Institute, Edinburgh University.
  • Kenneth Munro: European Commission.
  • Matt Smith: Scottish Secretary of Unison, one of the biggest unions in Scotland and the UK.


The Board 2008

Staff 2008

The Board 2004

Kenneth Munro (Chair) former Head of European Commission Representation in Scotland |

Mark Lazarowicz Member of Parliament for Edinburgh North & Leith, Advocate

Gordon Dalyell Partner, Digby Brown & Co, Solicitors

Andy Myles Head of Advocacy & Media, RSPB, former Chief Executive, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Richard Norris Director of Policy, Scottish Association for Mental Health

Matt Smith Scottish Secretary, UNISON

Lesley Sutherland Women's Forum Scotland

The Staff 2004

From the Internet Archive of the CSPP site.[17] Ross Martin Chief Executive

Pat Herd Conference Officer

Gillian Jones Finance & Administration Assistant

Advisory board

Former members



Achieving the Vision: The Edinburgh City Region Conference 2005 Edinburgh, Thursday 26 May

Keynote speaker: Tom McCabe MSP, Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform in association with City of Edinburgh Council Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian, Media sponsor: The Scotsman Conference sponsors: BT, First, Citigate Public Affairs


Reports available:

  • Delivering Transport Policy for Scotland
  • Working Together for a Sustainable Scotland
  • A Healthy Scotland
  • Public Service Reform in Scotland
  • Scotland's role in the Enlarged Europe
  • The Implications and Consequences of Introducing STV for the Scottish Parliament Elections


Chisholm House 1 Surgeon Square High School Yards Edinburgh EH1 1LZ

Tel/Fax: 0131 558 8179 mail@cspp.demon.co.uk

External links


  1. "Homepage", CSPP website, accessed January 2009.
  2. "Home page", CSPP website, accessed January 2009.
  3. "About us: History", CSPP website, accessed January 2009
  4. Mary Braid, "Britain Votes: Canavan out for revenge against the 'wee cabal'", The Independent, 7 May 1999, accessed January 2009.
  5. "Scottish Council for Development and Industry Response to the Scottish Executive Consultation Paper on Appointments to Public Bodies in Scotland: Modernising the System", SCDI, 5 May 2000, accessed January 2009
  6. "Gerry Hassan", Demos website, accessed January 2009.
  7. Ross Martin to head up left-of-centre think tank", Edinburgh Evening News, 22 June 2004.
  8. Ross Martin, in an interview with Hartwig Pautz of Glasgow Caledonian University, 16 August 2004, Glasgow, cited in Hartwig Pautz, "Think-Tanks in Scotland", paper given at the 55th Political Studies Association Annual Conference, 4-7 April 2005 - University of Leeds, p. 6, accessed January 2009.
  9. "About the Programme", CSPP website, accessed January 2009.
  10. Ross Martin, in an interview with Hartwig Pautz of Glasgow Caledonian University, 16 August 2004, Glasgow, cited in Hartwig Pautz, "Think-Tanks in Scotland", paper given at the 55th Political Studies Association Annual Conference, 4-7 April 2005 - University of Leeds, p. 6, accessed January 2009.
  11. "Policy Programmes Overview", CSPP website, accessed January 2009.
  12. William Clark, "Dumbocracy: The New Scotland", Variant, No. 6, accessed March 18 2009
  13. Private Eye 920
  14. Private Eye 920
  15. Tom Gordon, "Henry McLeish under fire as Labour feuding erupts", The Sunday Times, 17 August 2008, accessed January 2009.
  16. "Scotland's 'House of Cards'", BBC News, 13 November 2001, accessed January 2009
  17. CSPP Who We Are archived 13 December 2004, accessed 13 February 2009
  18. House of Lords - Register of Lords' Interests RAMSAY OF CARTVALE, Baroness, HOUSE OF LORDS SESSION 2006-07 REGISTER OF LORDS’ INTERESTS AS AMENDED TO SHOW POSITION ON 16 JULY 2007 accessed 13 February 2009.
  19. "Alexander, Douglas (Paisley South)", Register of Members' Interests, UK Parliament website, circa 1998, accessed January 2009.
  20. "Paul Thompson", Forba website, accessed January 2009
  21. Ross Martin, in an interview with Hartwig Pautz of Glasgow Caledonian University, 16 August 2004, Glasgow, cited in Hartwig Pautz, "Think-Tanks in Scotland", paper given at the 55th Political Studies Association Annual Conference, 4-7 April 2005 - University of Leeds, p. 6, accessed January 2009.