National Islands Plan: implementation route map 2022

Details how we will deliver our priorities over the lifetime of the National Islands Plan. It identifies the methods to monitor progress towards fulfilling the many commitments in the Plan and sets out timescales for delivery of our work.

Data and Indicators

The extensive 2019 National Islands Plan consultation process highlighted the lack of robust disaggregated socio-economic data available in relation to our islands. The accumulation of better data is key to understanding the specific challenges facing island communities, which in turn will ensure that evidence based decisions and policy are made.

In the absence of objective measures at an islands level, there was a need to produce an alternate source of data that will measure the impact and effectiveness of the National Islands Plan in a consistent way. In 2020, we commissioned the National Islands Plan Survey which allowed us to gather the views of island communities across all of the Strategic Objectives. 20,000 surveys were posted to adult residents of 76 permanently inhabited islands, with options to complete it on paper, online or by phone, and in English or Gaelic. A total of 4,347 people responded to the survey from 59 islands, giving a response rate of 22%.

The National Islands Plan Survey: Final Report and accompanying interactive data tool were published on 9 July 2021.

Survey Headlines

  • Survey findings highlight that experiences of island life vary considerably by island group and by age groups.
  • Respondents feel there is a lack of support for young people to remain, move or return to the islands.
  • The data reveals that respondents feel there are a lack of employment, training and higher education opportunities and a lack of childcare options to fit with residents’ working patterns.
  • Respondents also feel there is a poor variety of housing types, sizes and tenures to meet people’s needs and a lack of affordable housing.
  • Respondents also have mixed experiences of accessing healthcare services and of speed and reliability of internet connections.
  • Some feel there is inadequate infrastructure for the number of tourists their islands attract.

Our aim is to repeat the National Islands Plan Survey at regular intervals to allow us to compare results. The data we gather will support us in measuring the effectiveness of the National Islands Plan across its lifetime, allowing us to identify where more targeted interventions may be required.

Community Resilience in Scotland Islands During the Covid-19 Pandemic

In 2021, we also commissioned Ipsos MORI to produce a series of case studies exploring examples of island community resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic. The initial focus of the project is to understand the range of community initiatives that have been developed on Scotland’s islands in response to the pandemic, in order to identify as wide a range of potential case studies as possible.

The findings from the case studies were published in June 2022 and will be used to develop recommendations for strengthening community resilience across Scotland whilst informing the delivery of the National Islands Plan.

National Islands Plan Research Working Group

National Islands Plan Delivery Group members have recommended development of a research index and establishment of a research working group. This group will be established during 2022 and will help us to ensure that relevant data from our systems of measurement are captured and inform the monitoring of the National Islands Plan.



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