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Hebrides News


Questions still remain over the future of the commission's controversial convener, Colin Kennedy, who effectively received a vote of no confidence from his colleagues when they demanded he quit.

But doubt arose over the lawfulness of the commission holding such a special meeting without due notice, a move which could have invalidate any decisions made, including the call for Mr Kennedy’s departure.

Eleven weeks later, it decided there was no such second meeting with its “special” status being newly redefined as the “continuation of the scheduled board meeting.”

Despite previously strongly defending its controversial actions, an apology was dragged out of the Crofters' Commission.

On the instructions of crofting secretary, Fergus Ewing, it finally admitted acting wrongly and harshly over sacking grazing committees.

In turn, Colin Kennedy lodged a complaint against Fergus Ewing.

The commission’s chief executive, Catriona Maclean, also left the organisation to take up a post within the Scottish Government.

More controversy engulfed the commission after appointed member, David Campbell, walked out of its board meeting in December after his colleagues refused to hold the discussion in public.

Two senior commission officials refused to attend the same statutory board meeting with suggestions of a fractured relationship between staff and Colin Kennedy.

Calls by politicians for Fergus Ewing to sack Mr Kennedy proved fruitless and with just one official meeting to go the healing process has no chance of commencing until after the spring.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, urged crofters to participate in the election process.

He said: “It is vital to have a commission made up of people who represent and reflect the interests and diversity of Scotland’s crofting community.

“To achieve that, we need people with a commitment to ensuring a long term future for crofting to stand for election or to nominate people they believe have the qualities to be an effective commissioner. It’s also important all crofters make their voices heard by voting in March’s election.”

Nominations sought for crofting regulator

8 January 2017

Fresh blood is sought for the controversial crofting body which has rarely been out of the headlines in 2016 for infighting and bad decisions.

Elections take place in March to select six commissioners to the Crofting Commission and the process for nominations for candidates is now open.

Introducing democracy onto the commission’s board was supposed to be an invigorating force. In 2012, the organisation became the only public body in Scotland where majority of board members were elected, not by government appointment, but by the people it regulates.

The inglorious end of its first term sees a probe into governance arrangements at the Crofting Commission, following the body’s chaotic decisions to sack three grazings committees - Upper Coll and Mangersta in Lewis plus another group in Lochaber.