The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed a Scottish Government pledge
to address the failures highlighted by the governance review of the Crofting Commission.
The review exposed many weaknesses in basic operating procedures and in how the organisation
copes with extraordinary individual behaviours.
SCF chair, Russell Smith, said his organisation want a rationalisation of the roles
of commissioners, establishing when they should be delegating to the executive staff
or referring to other bodies that have the required expertise.
Action on Crofting Commission welcomed
15 February 2017
He said: “Commissioners should have a strategic and advisory capacity only. It is
clear that they got too involved with executive procedures that they did not have
the competence or remit for.”
“The review team recognises the huge damage done to the reputation of the commission
by the in-fighting,” continued Mr Smith, “and particularly that the vote of no confidence
in the convener did not achieve a tangible result, that is, his removal.
“Frustratingly, the review does not suggest how this will be resolved, though the
government’s recent exoneration will open up options.”
The Scottish Government launched the governance review following the crisis of confidence
in the organisation due to the inappropriate actions taken on common grazings committees
and the subsequent breakdown of relationships within the commission.
Mr Smith said it is “alarming” it found fundamental inconsistencies and gaps in records
of events that led to the breakdown of the organisation.
He said: “This appears to have handicapped the review to an extent, and is telling
Mr Smith added: “The list of areas for improvement is long and the minister for crofting,
Mr Fergus Ewing, has instructed that an action plan to address them be put in place
as a matter of urgency.
“This will, we hope, sort out some of the fundamental issues that allowed the near
collapse of this significant organisation.”