December 4th 2019 | Garden Lobby, The Scottish Parliament


26 Jul
' Nominations Open '
25 Oct
' Nominations Close '
12 Nov
' Shortlist Announced '


Ken Macintosh MSP

Ken Macintosh MSP was born in Inverness and went to primary school in Portree then Oban before moving to the Royal High School in Edinburgh. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1984 with a MA in History. Before entering Parliament in 1999, he was a television producer for BBC News working on programmes such as Breakfast with Frost, the Nine o’clock News and Election or Budget specials. He is married to Claire and the couple live in Busby with their six children.

Ken was first elected in 1999 to represent the constituency of Eastwood just south of Glasgow. He held the Eastwood seat in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections. He was a Ministerial Aide to the then First Minister Jack McConnell and, as a backbencher, he introduced a Member's Bill designed to tackle skin cancer and proposing tougher regulation of sunbed parlours. In opposition, he has served as Shadow Minister for Schools and Skills; Culture and External Affairs; Education; Finance; Social Justice; and Community. In 2011 and again in 2015, Ken ran to be the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party. In 2016, Ken was returned as an MSP for the West Scotland region before being elected as the Scottish Parliament’s fifth Presiding Officer.

Mandy Rhodes

Managing Director, Holyrood Communications Ltd

Mandy is Managing Director of Holyrood Communications Ltd,she is also editor of the flagship title Holyrood magazine and responsible for the editorial content of all other associated titles and products.

Mandy graduated from Stirling University in the early 1980s with a joint Honours degree in Scottish History and Sociology. She trained on a local newspaper in Wester Hailes and completed her journalism training at Napier University.

She has worked for nearly 30 years in journalism in Scotland in newsprint, television and radio broadcasting and was part of the launch team of Scotland on Sunday. Mandy has won numerous awards over the years including PPA Magazine Editor of the Year, Feature Writer of the Year and Columnist of the year. She was social affairs correspondent at Scotland on Sunday where she broke a number of major child abuse stories and regularly lectured at Liverpool and Aberdeen universities on child protection issues and has also taken part in a number of documentaries on the subject.

Malcolm Wright

Director-General for Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of NHSScotland

Malcolm Wright was appointed Director-General for Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of NHSScotland in June 2019.

Malcolm Wright previously held a range of NHS Chief Executive appointments covering Tayside, Grampian, NHS Education, Dumfries and Galloway and Edinburgh Sick Children’s NHS Trust.

Malcolm has spent his career in the NHS, starting as an administrative trainee with Lothian Health Board in 1975. He progressed through a range of managerial and leadership positions.

Malcolm was awarded an Honorary Doctorate at the University of Paisley in 2007, an Honorary Fellowship of The Royal College of General Practitioners in 2007, an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2008 and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 2012.

Gillian McGregor

Director, Scotland Office, UK Government

Gillian took up post as Director for the Office for the Secretary of State for Scotland on 12 October 2017. Previous to that Gillian has spent the majority of her career in immigration and counter-terrorism roles in the Home Office based in London and Glasgow.

Gillian was brought up in the north-east of Scotland and was educated at Montrose Academy and Aberdeen University. She was awarded the CBE in the 2016 New Years Honours List.

David McGill

Assistant Chief Executive, Scottish Parliament

David joined the Parliament at devolution in 1999. Since then he has performed a variety of roles including clerking parliamentary committees and acting as Principal Private Secretary to the Presiding Officer. His current role sees him working directly with political parties and advising the Presiding Officer on procedural and parliamentary matters. In particular, David has lead responsibility for the Parliament’s response to constitutional issues, ensuring, among other things, that the Parliament plans for and develops its scrutiny role in relation to constitutional developments. He sits on the Parliament’s Leadership Group and attends the fortnightly meetings of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.

Caroline Gardner

Auditor General for Scotland, Audit Scotland

Caroline Gardner started her term as Auditor General in July 2012. She is responsible for the audit of most public bodies, except local authorities, and her role is to help ensure that public money is spent properly, efficiently and effectively. She is independent and reports in public and to Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee.

Anna Fowlie

Chief Executive, SCVO

Anna joined SCVO this year after being Chief Executive at Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) for nine years. During that time she led significant organisational change which saw the organisation become more responsive and engaging, driving high standards of care and public assurance. 

She has been a champion for care experienced children and young people, driving forward a new approach to corporate parenting in collaboration with partners in local government and the third sector.

Sarah Gadsden

Interim Chief Executive, Improvement Service

After completing her PhD in public sector management, Sarah started working in local government in 1998 as a Training and Development Officer in South Ayrshire Council. She then joined Renfrewshire Council in 2001 as a Policy Officer and moved on to the roles of Policy Planning Manager and Customer Services Manager.

Sarah joined the Improvement Service in January 2009 as a Programme Manager before being promoted to Head of Change and Development in 2012.  Sarah was then promoted to Director of Strategic Development and Collaboration where she had responsibility for leading the Transformation, Performance and Improvement Team.

Sarah was appointed Interim Chief Executive in March 2018.


Karen Watt

Chief Executive, Scottish Funding Council

Karen is Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), whose mission is to make Scotland the best place in the world to educate, research and innovate, investing around £1.8 billion of public money each year in colleges and universities to provide life-changing opportunities and contribute to our economic prosperity.

She joined SFC from the Scottish Government where, as Director of External Affairs, she led the government’s international relations and response to the EU referendum. Her previous policy roles include UK relations, enterprise and tourism, sponsorship of key enterprise agencies, culture and arts funding, historic environment and creative industries. As the first Chief Executive of the Scottish Housing Regulator she provided leadership in governance and financial sustainability, improved housing and homelessness services and secured private sector investment into new and improved affordable homes.

Having held the position of Principal Private Secretary to the First Minister and Head of Ministerial Offices, Karen has a deep understanding of the wider policy context that impacts on further and higher education sectors, alongside the workings of central government at Scottish, UK and international levels.

Alec Harley

Alec Harley is the Portfolio Director for Mission Support for Leidos Innovations UK, based in Glasgow, Scotland.

Alec’s primary focus is developing market-leading solutions to Leidos’ public service customers, enriching the citizen’s experience while producing cost effective solutions for the customer. He is responsible for all Public & CNI business in Scotland and key government departments and agencies elsewhere in the UK.

Leidos Public Services business offerings includes a range of software and systems engineering solutions, IT consultancy, programme management and IT service delivery. 

Alec also spearheads the Leidos’ Digital Transformation project within Oil & Gas Maritime Autonomy in the UK.

He has been with the company for almost 25 years in leadership roles including Business Development Director and Sector Director for Global Energy Consultancy Solutions, and has had responsibility for a number of business units in the commercial, energy and public services space. He has delivered papers at numerous global summits, been a key member of a management buy-out team and sits on Glasgow University Computer Science Industrial Advisory Board.

Alec believes the top 3 characteristics of a great leader are: “Charismatic, Determined, Principled’