Stone of Destiny - future location: public engagement report
The Commissioners for the Safeguarding of the Regalia requested a public engagement took place to assist them in their scrutiny of proposals to relocate the Stone of Destiny to Perth. This report presents analysis of the responses to the public engagement exercise.
The Stone of Destiny is currently displayed within the Crown Room in Edinburgh Castle, alongside the Honours of Scotland. Under the terms of their Royal Warrant, responsibility for the care, custody and preservation of the Regalia of Scotland, including the Stone, is vested in the Commissioners for the Safeguarding of the Regalia. They advise The Queen on all matters relating to the Stone.
Perth & Kinross Council, and its delivery partner, Culture Perth & Kinross, submitted a proposal to the Commissioners for the Stone to be relocated to Perth to form the centre-piece of a refurbished Perth City Hall (see Annex 1). Historic Environment Scotland have also developed plans for a major redevelopment of the display of both the Stone and the Honours at Edinburgh Castle (see Annex 2).
The final decision on any proposal to relocate the Stone lies with The Queen, acting on the advice of the Commissioners. In order to inform their advice, the Commissioners initiated a public engagement exercise to gather views from the public and organisations on factors relevant to the future location of the Stone.
This report presents analysis of the responses to the public engagement exercise.
2.2 The public engagement exercise
The Scottish Government, on behalf of the Commissioners, published the information submitted by Perth and Kinross Council and Historic Environment Scotland on its consultation hub.
The public engagement exercise sought responses to the question:
"What factors do you consider the Commissioners should take into account in reaching their decision?".
The exercise ran from 15 August 2019 until 19 September 2019.
2.3 The respondents and responses
The public engagement exercise received 1,941 responses. One hundred and two of these responses were blank, and a further fourteen responses were duplicates where the same individual had responded twice. The final number of valid responses, excluding blanks and duplicates, was therefore 1,825.
One thousand seven hundred and eighty eight responses (98%) were from individuals. Of these, thirteen respondents identified themselves as elected representatives (councillors, MSPs or MPs), all representing constituencies in and around Perthshire.
Thirty seven responses (2%) were from organisations (see Annex 3 for a list of responding organisations).
The exercise generated strong interest in those geographic areas closest to the proposed Perth site, with over 7 in 10 responses received from respondents providing postcode addresses in Perth (PH), Kirkcaldy (KY), Dundee (DD), and Falkirk (FK). Just under one in ten responses were from respondents providing Edinburgh (EH) postcodes, one in twenty from Glasgow postcodes, and fewer than 2% of responses from each of Scotland's other postcode areas. Eighty two responses (4%) were received from individuals providing postcodes outside Scotland.
Respondents' postcodes cannot be assumed to represent strength of attachment to the proposal local to that area. However, for the purposes of this exercise, it is useful to note the localities that generated high levels of response.
Almost all responses were submitted via the SG's consultation hub. Ten responses were submitted via email, and were then uploaded to the consultation hub.
2.4 Approach to analysing the responses
The exercise posed a single open question, and the analysis was therefore primarily qualitative in nature. All responses were downloaded from Citizen Space and reviewed to identify the themes and factors raised. Responses were coded and frequency analysis undertaken to identify the most frequently raised points (although, as noted in the section below, this was not a quantitative exercise due to the non-representative nature of the response).
A large number of respondents took the opportunity to express their preference for Perth or Edinburgh as a location for the Stone, without directly addressing the question posed in the public engagement exercise. All responses were included in the analysis, and the numbers of respondents stating a preference for Perth, Edinburgh or another location are noted in the introduction to Chapter 2, to provide context for the range of factors and issues then identified by respondents.
It should be noted that this analysis presents views as provided by respondents, and does not comment on the accuracy or otherwise of the points they raise. A range of views were submitted, some challenging the historical accuracy of other views that have been publicly expressed. This reflects the range of understanding prevalent in the long running debate on the Stone itself.
Chapter 2 presents an overview of the range of responses received to the public engagement exercise, drawing out the themes that emerged and the detail of specific factors raised by respondents.
2.5 Interpretation of the findings
It is important to note that the views of those who have responded cannot be assumed to be representative of the views of the wider population due to the self-selecting nature of the response. This analysis therefore seeks to draw out the range of factors and issues raised by respondents for consideration by the Commissioners; providing some indication of how widespread the view was among respondents, but intentionally avoiding a quantitative assessment of the response as being to any extent 'representative' of all views.
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