Draft Disability Assistance for Older People (Scotland) Regulations 2024: Draft Island Communities Impact Assessment

A draft Island Communities Impact Assessment (ICIA) considering the draft Disability Assistance for Older People (Scotland) Regulations 2024 in relation to their impacts on people living in the Islands under Section 8 of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018.

Connectivity and Accessibility

62. Alongside the areas identified by Citizens Advice Scotland, research briefings from 2017 for the Islands (Scotland) Bill suggest that residents of islands rely on ferry crossings and air travel to reach the mainland and larger islands to access key services such as secondary and higher education, care, and medical services.[25]

63. In 2011, the proportion of island households with at least one car or van available was 79%, compared with just over two-thirds (69%) nationally.[26]

64. In rural remote areas and island communities, disabled people face a lack of access to opportunities that are more readily and frequently available to those on the mainland or in urban areas. Furthermore, a lack of accessibility to employment, education and leisure opportunities can be made more difficult for someone with a physical condition, especially when transport options are limited.

65. Bus services in remote and island communities can be unreliable and are often community run. Even where buses are available, they often run rarely and timetables do not always meet the needs of people living in the community. Furthermore, if there is already someone with a wheelchair or pram on the bus it is not always possible for a wheelchair user to board.

66. Not all islands are served by buses and there are not always taxis available. It is known that disabled people on islands rely heavily on neighbours, friends and families driving them as a primary means of transport.

67. The needs of wheelchair users can be different in island and rural communities than the needs of wheelchair users in an urban environment due to more challenging terrain.

68. Research undertaken by the Scottish Government and by stakeholders in 2020 have found that a lack of connectivity in rural or remote communities has been compounded by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.[27] An absence of good quality internet connection can significantly impact on an individual’s ability to socialise and partake in cultural activities, particularly where people already have difficulty taking part in activities as a result of a disability or health condition.

69. The Scottish Government is working to address some of these issues through Social Security Scotland’s Local Delivery staff sharing locations with other services so that they are based where people currently go, to ensure that individuals can access advice and support in existing island locations.

70. Social Security Scotland will offer a multi-channel approach, including telephone, paper-based and face-to-face applications to ensure that people are not isolated through a lack of access to technology.

71. Social Security Scotland will also support individuals to gather supporting information. This includes, if authorised by the individual, gathering supporting information on their behalf if they do not have this to hand. For individuals living in rural or island communities, this may be of particular benefit as it may be difficult for residents to gather supporting information from a professional given the remoteness and lack of connectivity.


Email: Joseph.Scullion@gov.scot

Back to top