This thesis explores the pre-legislative, as well as the legislative processes of the Scottish Parliament.
The Housing (Scotland) Bill is used as a single case study to map the journey of housing and
homelessness policies through the parliamentary process, and, in doing so, policy network theory has
been used to guide the collection, organisation and analysis of the data
The research has attempted to get beyond the official line by identifying the key policy players
involved and exploring their relationships with one another. To that end, the study is based on sixty
four interviews with a range of stakeholders involved in the Housing (Scotland) Bill, as well as the
responses from one hundred and nineteen interest groups which completed the postal survey. This
was complemented by non-participant observation of the parliamentary and committee proceedings
and documentary analysis.
The accounts and reflections of those heavily involved in agenda setting, policy development and
legislative amendment provide the basis for the thesis. That said, the research does not overlook those
who found themselves at the periphery of the policy making process. Indeed, the study identifies the
many 'rules of the game' that exist to exclude interest groups from decision making and does this in
light of the Parliament's founding principles of openness, accessibility, responsiveness, power sharing
and its efforts to include 'outsiders'.
The thesis also analyses the role of the committees given their reputed importance as the powerhouse
of the Parliament in terms of scrutinising and amending Executive legislation. The committees'
evidence taking role, as well as the Parliament's role in other stages of the legislative process, are
examined. While the formal processes are important, the research also taps into some of the networks
that built up around the Housing Bill. The characteristics and membership of these networks are
identified and the research pays particular attention to the micro-level of analysis. In other words, the
relationships between key policy players (such as Ministers, civil servants, parliamentarians and
interest groups) are examined in terms of the way in which they co-operate and compete with one
another to affect policy. Thus, the importance of the resource exchange and coalition and consensus
building is analysed in terms of whether the relationships between policy players organised around and
in networks have any real causal impact on policy outcomes.