7. In June 2013, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Orkney Islands Council and Shetland Islands Council launched the Our Islands – Our Future campaign, with the aim of ensuring that the needs and status of island areas in Scotland were clearly recognised.
8. Although this was written in the context of a potentially independent Scotland, the Scottish Government established the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group, to focus on three key areas:
- How the Islands councils are and can be supported to use existing powers available to them and engage communities to deliver improved, more responsive public services and better outcomes for communities;
- Consider the development and extension of local democracy in the island groups and opportunities in the context of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, including the issues raised by the Our Islands - Our Future joint position statement; and
- Agree a prospectus outlining opportunities for island communities in the future.
9. In June 2014, on conclusion of the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group’s work, the Scottish Government published the Empowering Scotland’s Island Communities prospectus, presented as a coherent package of measures that developed a set of proposals based on three underpinning objectives:
- Promoting the voice of island communities;
- harnessing island resources; and
- enhancing the wellbeing of island communities.
10. Following the Empowering Scotland’s Island Communities prospectus, the Scottish Government consulted on provisions for a future Islands Bill. A key focus of this consultation was the aspect of ‘island-proofing’, consulting on its inclusion as a principle within any future Island Bills to formalise the approach in legislation.
11. The Islands (Scotland) Bill 2018 received Royal Assent on 6 July 2018. The first Commencement Regulations for the Island Act were laid on 20 September 2018 and came into force on 4 October 2018.