Infrastructure investment plan 2021-2022 to 2025-2026 - draft: consultation analysis

Independent analysis of consultation responses to the Scottish Government's Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26. The consultation ran from 24 September 2020 to 19 November 2020.

2. Consultation Methodology


2.1 The Scottish Government promoted the consultation on the Draft IIP on the Consultation Hub on its website. The online consultation ran from 24th September 2020 to 19th November 2020.

2.2 A majority of consultation responses were submitted via the Scottish Government's online portal - Citizen Space (61%)[4]. A relatively large proportion of responses were submitted to the Scottish Government directly, for example, via email (39%). Where this was the case, the Infrastructure and Investment Division logged each response and added these directly to Citizen Space.

2.3 All responses received were checked and moderated by the Scottish Government prior to providing EKOS Ltd access to the responses on Citizen Space. During this process it was identified that the consultation had attracted a significant Campaign Response. This has been confirmed by EKOS. More information is provided at Section 2.5.

2.4 EKOS exported consultation responses from Citizen Space into Microsoft Excel for data cleaning, review and analysis.

Campaign Responses

2.5 A total of 147 responses were received, including 48 Campaign Responses from individuals involved in the A96 Action Group. This represents around one-third of all responses. The Campaign Responses were checked to identify whether they should be classed as:

  • Standard responses: in which the respondent has simply added their name to the standard text provided by a campaign organiser without making any changes to it. Scottish Government guidance is that these responses should be counted for each separate campaign and a full synopsis should be provided in the report.
  • Non-standard responses: in which the respondent has edited the standard text provided by a campaign organiser or added their own comments to it before submitting it (usually via the campaign organiser's website). Scottish Government guidance is that the additional/edited elements of these responses should be included in the analysis database and validated as with any other response.

2.6 The 48 Campaign Responses are clusters of two sets of identical responses:

  • Standard Campaign Response 1 – 40 responses.
  • Standard Campaign Response 2 – eight responses.

2.7 As noted above, Campaign Responses represent one-third of all responses. However, not all will be published individually by the Scottish Government (e.g. where the response was submitted via email, or if an individual has selected "do not publish" response).

2.8 Table 2 provides an overview of how Campaign Response respondents answered the closed consultation questions. Annex B provides an overview of the main issues raised through their qualitative responses.

Table 2: Campaign Responses Closed Responses
Consultation Question Campaign Response 1 Campaign Response 2
Yes No Unsure Yes No Unsure
1a) Do you support the inclusion of natural infrastructure in our definition of infrastructure? 100% - - 100% - -
1b) Do you agree with the wording proposed for the revised definition? - 100% - - 100% -
2a) Do you agree that the steps proposed in the Common Investment Hierarchy are the right ones? 100% - - 100% - -
4a) Do you support the planned approach to developing a new approach to assessing the contribution made by infrastructure investment to Scotland's emissions targets? - 100% - - 100% -

Campaign Response 1 (N=40), Campaign Response 2 (N=8)

Consultation Responses

2.9 One consultation response from each of Campaign 1 and Campaign 2 have been included in the overall analysis of consultation responses within the main body of the report (i.e. one consolidated response from each Campaign). This helps to ensure balanced consideration of consultation responses.

2.10 Therefore, a total of 101 consultation responses[5] were included in the main analysis. The vast majority were submitted by organisations (86%), Table 3. The consultation attracted responses from a cross-section of infrastructure sectors. The top three sectors of Construction and Built Environment, Natural Environment and Climate Change, and Travel and Transport represent over half of all organisation responses (47, 54%).

Table 3: Profile of Consultation Respondents
  Number %
Individual 14 14%
Organisation 87 86%
Construction and Built Environment 19 22%
Natural Environment and Climate Change 14 16%
Travel and Transport 14 16%
Local Government 13 15%
Energy, Telecoms, Water and Waste 8 9%
Business and Enterprise 7 8%
Health, Education and Public Services 6 7%
Other 6 7%

N=101. 'Other' includes National Museums Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Futures Trust, Scottish Land and Estates. The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Law Society of Scotland.

EKOS coding of organisations in discussion with the Infrastructure and Investment Division.

2.11 Public sector bodies are well represented in the organisation responses, followed by representative bodies. Taken together, public sector and representative or membership bodies comprise over two-thirds of all organisation responses (60, 69%), Table 4.

2.12 Annex A provides a list of organisations that responded to the consultation by thematic sector and type.

Table 4: Types of Organisation
  Number %
Public Sector 34 39%
Representative Body 26 30%
Third Sector 17 20%
Private Sector 10 12%

N=87. Percentages do not total 100% due to rounding.

EKOS coding of organisations in discussion with the Infrastructure and Investment Division.

Consultation Analysis

2.13 The analysis seeks to identify the most common themes and issues. It does not report on every single point raised in the consultation responses.

2.14 Equal weighting has been given to responses. This includes the views of, on the one hand, large organisations with a national remit or membership, and, on the other, smaller organisations with a more local or narrow thematic focus (or an individual's view).

2.15 The analysis identifies key themes by respondent group where appropriate. The qualitative feedback was, however, largely uniform – albeit framed in different ways depending on infrastructure area of interest.

2.16 When the feedback is examined by organisation sub-group there are a couple of clear differences of opinion:

  • There are some organisations that think the Draft IIP does not go far enough in prioritising natural infrastructure as an approach to addressing the overarching objective of the Draft IIP that future infrastructure should enable and support an inclusive net zero emissions economy and address the climate emergency. This is more likely to include some organisations within the Natural Environment and Climate Change, and Travel and Transport sub-groups. Plus the Campaign Responses.
  • On the other hand, there are organisations (across all organisation sub-groups) that hold the view that there is a need to ensure that an appropriate balance is struck to make sure that there are no unintended consequences of the proposed revised approach. There is recognition that investment in all types of infrastructure is required to achieve the priority of inclusive growth.

Consultation Observations

2.17 Respondents to any consultation are self-selecting.

2.18 The consultation attracted significant interest from across a wide range of public, private and third sector organisations with a direct role and/or interest in infrastructure across its many different forms. Although not included in the scope of the consultation exercise, many respondents offered strong views on some of the proposed infrastructure investment projects that will be delivered over the next five years as outlined within the Draft IIP.

2.19 While there was broad support for the overarching strategic changes proposed in the Draft IIP, some consultees reflected more on the implementation and operational challenges of delivering the new Plan. For example, how the proposed change in approach to the prioritisation of infrastructure investment (e.g. through the Common Investment Hierarchy) could impact on their specific area of interest.

2.20 As noted above, a relatively large proportion of consultation respondents did not submit their response directly via Citizen Space (i.e. email/letter responses) which means that these responses did not always follow the consultation structure.

2.21 By this we mean, some but not all of these consultation responses:

  • Answered the four closed Consultation Questions (i.e. those that required a "Yes", "No" or "Unsure" response). Blank responses have been categorised as not answered. Base numbers under each table are therefore not always 101.
  • Structured the content and layout of their response under each question heading. Where the suggested structure was not followed, the Scottish Government adopted a "best fit approach" – responses were reviewed and text allocated to the consultation question considered most relevant.



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