National islands plan: annual report - 2020

The Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 requires that a report is presented to Parliament each year setting out the progress made towards delivery of the National Islands Plan. The National Islands Plan annual report 2020 is the first of these reports.


The National Islands Plan provides a framework for action in order to meaningfully improve outcomes for island communities. The Plan sets out 13 Strategic Objectives and over 100 commitments which must be delivered over a five year period. The Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 requires that a report is presented to parliament each year setting out the progress made towards delivery. This document is the first of these reports and covers the entirety of 2020.

Without doubt, the implementation of the National Islands Plan has been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic and the UK's exit from the European Union. However, progress has still been made and Scottish Government remain committed to supporting our island communities through these challenging times.

Whilst we continue to respond to the needs of island communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that we must continue to deliver on the commitments we have made in the National Islands Plan. However, it is crucial that we remain flexible and responsive, and that we continue to work in close partnership with island communities, our local government colleagues, third sector organisations and others with an interest in islands. The nature of the pandemic is unprecedented and like many of our partners, this past year we have been operating in an uncertain and rapidly changing environment with new urgent health, social and economic priorities to tackle. Understandably, this means we have had to step back from progressing some commitments within the Plan, but this was necessary to allow us to react quickly to support island communities. Now, as the situation appears to be improving, we have once again turned our full energy back towards delivery of the Plan. Over the next few years, we will move forward with our commitments whilst reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 to inform our work.

We are currently developing the National Islands Plan Implementation Route Map as a priority. This is fully informed by our learning of how island communities have responded and adapted to changing circumstances as a result of the pandemic. This is being done with input from local government, Scottish Government policy colleagues and island stakeholders. The Implementation Route Map will detail how we will deliver each of the National Islands Plan Strategic Objectives over the lifetime of the Plan. It will identify the methods we will use to monitor progress towards achieving our outcomes and set out how we will deliver our work over the short, medium and long-term.

Additionally, we have continued to support the Islands Strategic Group to allow us to work closely with our local authority partners on delivery. This, combined with the formation of the new National Islands Plan Delivery Group and continued engagement with island communities, will ensure that we secure broader engagement in the actions we need to take against each Strategic Objective.

This document outlines where progress has been made towards each specific commitment of the National Islands Plan, detailing projects and resource spend where appropriate. By summer 2021, we will also launch a virtual National Islands Plan Progress Dashboard that will allow for real-time progress towards both our Strategic Objectives and commitments to be displayed in an accessible and transparent manner.



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