Nominations open for Crofting Commission

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Candidates for the March Crofting Commission elections can now be put forward.

The process of nominating candidates opened last week, with Scotland’s 16,000 crofters able to put forward candidates or stand themselves for election to the board as commissioners.

The commission regulates and promotes the interests of crofting. March’s postal election is to elect commissioners from the six crofting constituencies: East Highlands, Orkney and Caithness, Shetland, South West Highlands, West Highlands and Western Isles.

Cabinet secretary for rural economy and connectivity Fergus Ewing said: ‘The Scottish Government wants to ensure a strong and vibrant future for crofting. The Crofting Commission is crucial to this, through its work on developing crofting, being an effective regulator and providing a voice for the concerns of crofters.

‘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.’

Commissioners are accountable for the commission’s overall performance and set the commission’s direction and policies on regulatory matters that affect crofters. They also work with other bodies with an interest in crofting.

The commission’s board can have up to nine commissioners. Six are elected by crofters and the remainder appointed by Scottish ministers.

The commission is the only public body in Scotland with a majority of board members elected by the people they serve.

Crofters can get a nomination pack from their local council returning officer.

The deadline for returning nominations is Thursday January 26 and the deadline for returning ballot papers is Thursday March 16.

The results will be announced on March 17.

The elections will be administered by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. The Scottish Government, the comhairle and the Crofting Commission are working together to ensure a free, transparent and fair election process and to encourage a diverse range of candidates and high voter turnout.

Crofters can nominate them­selves or another person to stand in their constituency. Non-crofters can stand for election if nominated by a crofter.

Commissioners receive training and development to help them with their particular needs and support them to carry out the role.

Commissioners work four and a half days per month and currently receive a daily rate of £161.29. Expenses are paid for travel.