https://blog-digitalparliament.scot/spice-world

SPICe World

Can you write a blog about the Scottish Parliament’s information centre, commonly known as SPICe, and not reference 90s Brit pop? We make no promises.


SPICe stands for Scottish Parliament Information Centre. Researchers in SPICe provide independent information and briefings to help MSPs and committees with their work. They also produce a popular blog, the SPICe Spotlight, which has impartial analysis of current issues.

SPICe gets regular mentions from MSPs and provides an invaluable service to people in the Parliament. But how do we share their work with a wider audience on the new Parliamentary research section of the Beta site?

Too much

We started by looking at the SPICe information on parliament.scot, and talking to people who use the site regularly. SPICe produces a lot of valuable information, but our exploration found some of it was hard for people to find. We wanted to streamline the content so users could really see the research content SPICe create.

We interviewed:

  • professional researchers and academics
  • third sector staff
  • civil servants and local council staff

Who do you think we are?

Users understood “Parliamentary research” to cover background information that accompanies legislation or an item of business. The most valuable content to them was the research briefings SPICe produce for Bills and issues MSPs are looking at. The briefings are available on a digital hub, and regular users headed straight there to find them.

The SPICe blog is very popular, with a high volume of visitors and engagement. It also sits on an external site, so we knew we would need to clearly sign post users to it.  We’ve done this by adding links to the main menu navigation and on the Research landing page. We’ve also added links within specific relevant Research web pages. This gives users several ways to access their most favourite content with minimal searching. 

SPICe up your life

For the general public, we wanted to make it easier to find the work of SPICe by giving them quick access links to:

  • SPICe Spotlight blogs
  • research briefings on the digital hub
  • post-Brexit hub
  • @SPICe_Research Twitter channel 

Wannabe (in SPICe)?

The current release for Research also has a clear path for those who want to get involved in the work of research for Parliament. SPICe can work with academics and researchers to provide information, and the different ways academics can engage with SPICe are explained along with direct links to apply or join.

Goodbye (what's next for Research)

There are a few areas of Research which have not been included in the first phase of beta content. These include:
  • fact sheets (accessible current fact sheets displayed with relevant content and links to archived content)
  • constituency profile content
  • elections analysis
  • financial scrutiny
  • petitions briefings
  • material for debates
  • statistics volume
  • Bill summaries

This content, where relevant, will be planned for future development and release. 

If you have any questions about the new research pages or want to get involved in our work in another way, please get in contact via webproject@parliament.scot.