Time’s up for new Holyrood voting technology

The consoles are being fixed during the October recess

STATE of the art voting technology at the Scottish parliament is to be repaired – just two months after being installed.

The touch screen panels on the MSPs’ desks in the debating chamber cost £280,000 and took most of the summer to put in.

But technicians are having to return during the October recess because politicians do not know how long they have to cast their votes.

The gaffe was spotted during training sessions on the new technology.

Software settings will be changed to display a countdown timer to show MSPs how long they have to press their button to cast their votes.

A Holyrood insider said: “The officials were taking us through a voting scenario and they pointed this out as a problem which had been identified but was going to be rectified. Somebody had pointed out the countdown clock was not there.

“For £280,000, questions have to be asked about why the contractor has got to come back in the October recess.

“And if it is just a simple software upgrade, surely that could be done in a weekend or one of the days when parliament is not sitting.”


The debating chamber was deemed out-of-bounds during the summer recess when the old consoles and microphones were replaced – despite only being in place for seven years.

Critics voiced scepticism at the need to spend so much on the new system during the current economic climate.

The work also meant the chamber could not be used during the annual Festival of Politics.

Work will begin on fixing the new consoles next week.

A parliament spokesman said contractors would modify the consoles so that a 30-second timer would appear on the screen.

But he added that there would be no cost to the parliament.

He said: “Officials asked for that as part of the original specification. Effectively we are changing the software settings.”