RESAS research on Isle of Rum: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

You asked for RESAS' upcoming research on the Isle of Rum. Specifically, you have asked the following questions:

  1. Can the RESAS provide the methodology for this type of Delphi Study and state the minimum sample size for this methodology.
  2. Has the RESAS conducted any research elsewhere using the Delphi method and please give links or sources for these studies.
  3. As the castle used to be visited by thousands of tourists annually since 1957 until its recent closure, why has the study excluded UK taxpayers, non-island residents, heritage charities such as the Kinloch Castle Friends Association and nearby residents on the mainland from the consultation process?
  4. Residents on the Isle or Rum include deer researchers, hostel managers, fish farm workers and others, their island residency mostly due to employment. Scotland has thousands of other heritage sites of national importance so why is Lorna Slater restricting consultation to adults living close to Kinloch Castle?
  5. As the RESAS research is 'expected to take 6 months' ending in March 2024, so the RESAS has scheduled the work, can the RESAS provide the costs - staff costs, accommodation costs, transport costs and all other costs.
  6. Is the RESAS conducting the study workshops on the island? If so, will the RESAS use CalMac public ferries rather than private chartered boats? Where will Scottish Government research staff stay? Will they stay overnight on the island or return to the mainland?
  7. As the research ends in March 2024, please give the estimated date for the results to be published.


While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. The reasons why we do not have the information are explained below and in the Annex to this letter.

Unfortunately, as the research project has not yet begun, including any formal planning, we do not hold any information about the methodology, costs or estimated date of publication. The planning stage is expected to commence in September 2023.

  1. Section 17(1) of FOISA applies.
  2. No, RESAS have not conducted research elsewhere using the Delphi method. However, it has been used in other Scottish Government research.
  3. Section 17(1) of FOISA applies.
  4. Section 17(1) of FOISA applies. However, It may be helpful to note that there is legislation defining community. The community right to buy in Part 2 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and then amended by Part 4 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. In section 1.3 Defining your community, “The members of your “community” must be resident and be registered to vote in a local government election at an address within the area your community body (“CB”) has chosen to define as your “community” (section 34(5) of the Act). … Islands are specifically mentioned and defined as an area of land surrounded by water, usually seawater, e.g. Barra, Isle of Eigg, Isle of Bute. For reference - Section 1: Guidance for Community Bodies - Community right to buy: guidance for applications made on or after 15 April 2016 - (
  5. Section 17(1) of FOISA applies.
  6. Section 17(1) of FOISA applies.
  7. Section 17(1) of FOISA applies.

We note you raised a number of points that do not fall within the remit of FOI requests however on your behalf we have consulted relevant departments in order to provide a helpful and informed response. They have advised the following:

  • At this stage, no one has been included or excluded from the study as the scope has not yet been agreed. As you will appreciate however, the castle is an important part of a fragile, island community and any significant development could have a significant impact on that community. Scottish Ministers would want to consider any impacts, positive of negative, on the island community and surrounding area, therefore community support is key to any venture. We appreciate that not everyone will always agree, therefore Ministers have agreed to undertake the study which is designed to create consensus around conditions for sale. While we may seek others views at the appropriate time, I’m sure you will appreciate that those most impacted would need to have a weightier saying in the matter.
  • It is also important to note that this is why the recent sale did not proceed, because the community was not in agreement and community engagement will be the key to any sale. Scottish Ministers endeavoured to remain impartial throughout, indicating that the prospective buyer at that time, should engage with the community. Scottish Ministers are keen to find a sustainable solution for the Castle that works for all and any such solution must work for the community, particularly in a fragile island setting.
  • Looking ahead, in order to streamline any future opportunities for the castle, it is hoped that the scoping exercise will identify agreed conditions for sale which will prevent the need for repeated steps being undertaken and enable NatureScot to take any next steps with the backing of the community.
  • Any opinions on the castle should be directed to NatureScot in the first instance.


The Scottish Government does not hold the information requested
The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the planning of this research is yet to be determined. As such, I hereby provide you with formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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