9. Decision-making processes
9.1 In their comments at Questions 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6, respondents – especially island respondents – often asked for clarity about the process for decision-making in relation to the allocation of bond awards. This was most often raised in the context that there were many more 'worthy recipients' than the Islands Bond scheme could support, and it was therefore vital to ensure that the process of assessment and decision making was 'fair', 'transparent' and 'evidence-based'.
9.2 Respondents wanted to know who would make decisions, and how the available funds would be distributed between (i) different categories of potential recipient, and (ii) individual award recipients.
9.3 In relation to the process for selecting individual bond recipients, there was a view that this should involve identifying the 'right sort of people' who could make a positive contribution to island life. On the question of who would assess applications and make the decisions, respondents most commonly emphasised the importance of community involvement, with some island respondents saying explicitly that 'islanders should decide who gets island bonds' while others suggested that it made sense to 'subject any decisions to community approval before they are ratified'. There was also a suggestion that individual applicants should need to show they had the backing of the local community – e.g. via a letter of support.
9.4 Such comments were often linked to a view that the criteria for allocating bonds should be developed separately for each island, by the current inhabitants. There were, however, also occasionally comments to the effect that decision-making within island communities could be 'corrupt' and it would therefore be inappropriate to allow this to take place locally.
9.5 Furthermore, some island respondents were concerned that any decision-making by 'Edinburgh-based civil servants' or 'a committee based in Edinburgh' would not be well informed about the needs of particular island communities.
9.6 Negative views were also occasionally expressed about the involvement of local authorities in decision-making. These views were a consequence either of the belief that local authorities had an inadequate understanding of the needs of local communities or a perception that the local authority, in some way, could not be trusted.
9.7 In terms of decision-making relating to the distribution / allocation of bonds, most commonly respondents wished to know what the balance would be between bonds for existing residents and bonds for people relocating (or returning) to the islands.
9.8 In addition, (island) respondents often asked how decisions would be made about allocating the funds:
- Between different islands or island groups
- Between less populated and more populated islands / areas
- Between 'young people', 'families' and other groups.
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