New Crofting Commission begins today

2 April 2012

After fifty-seven years the Crofters Commission is no more, and has been replaced by the Crofting Commission. Although at first this may only appear to be a minor name change, the new body has some significant differences over the old one which was set up in 1955. Most significant is the introduction of six elected commissioners, voted for democratically by crofters themselves across the crofting counties. The results of the first elections were announced on the 16th March ahead of the organisational change. Three other Commissioners were appointed by the Scottish Ministers.
The name change is part of a raft of reforms brought in by the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 and forms the first part of that Act. The key aims of the Crofting Commission are to regulate, reorganise and promote the interests of crofting, and keep all matters relating to crofting under constant review. The new Act paved the way for elected Commissioners, as well enabling the Commission to tackle absenteeism and speculation in croft land more effectively.
One further organisational role to be filled is that of Convener. Previously, this was a position appointed by the Scottish Ministers but there are now calls to make this an elected role. The Scottish Crofting Federation has said that as the new Commissioners effectively sit as elected members of a board, that board should decide who is given the role. They have called on the Minister for Environment, Stewart Stevenson, to allow this to take place.
So far, the only visible difference at the organisation is the change of name on the website masthead, but undoubtedly changes behind the scenes will be noticeable in the coming months as the new Commissioners get to work in regulating crofting under the new Act.



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