Publication - Research and analysis

Collaborative economy: evidence analysis

Published: 22 Aug 2017
Energy and Climate Change Directorate
Part of:

Analysis of responses to the call for evidence issued by the Scottish Expert Advisory Panel on the Collaborative Economy in April 2017.

Collaborative economy: evidence analysis
10 Other Comments

10 Other Comments

10.1 In addition to the main consultation questions around which the call for evidence was structured, a total of 41 (of 52) respondents provided additional written comments within their response. A large majority of these respondents took this opportunity to re-iterate points discussed earlier in this report in relation to one or more of the specific consultation questions. However, some referred to issues or views that had not been raised earlier. The key points of note were:

  • A range of respondents referred to terminology and definitions around the collaborative economy, and suggested that clarity is required in relation to the providers and services that are included within this term. This included some respondents who noted that the framing of the call for evidence indicated that the Panel is primarily concerned with online platforms, rather than the collaborative economy which can be defined more widely. In relation to the collaborative economy as a whole, several respondents making a distinction between genuinely collaborative or pure sharing models, and providers that were seen as using new technologies to replicate existing service models and business/employment structures.
  • A small number of respondents referred to the composition of the Panel. This included concerns regarding the inclusion of specific collaborative platforms as members, and a lack of representation for workers.
  • Respondents made a range of comments relating to the call for evidence exercise. Several respondents specifically welcomed the opportunity to inform policy development, and suggested that this engagement should continue throughout the policy and regulatory development process. This included a business representative body who felt that the timescales for written submissions had been relatively short, and as a result had limited scope for respondents to address the full range of issues being considered by the panel. A small number of respondents also commented on the scope of the panel and the framing of the call for evidence questions - this included commentary noted above in relation to how the collaborative economy is defined.
  • Respondents raised the following issues in relation to peer-to-peer accommodation, and the short-term rentals sector more widely:
    • A need to recognise the significance of the tourism sector for the wider Scottish economy, and the importance of the short-term rentals sector for Scottish tourism. This included concerns that the approach to regulation of peer-to-peer accommodation, and the short-term rentals sector more widely, is based on an accurate understanding of the sectors and does not lead to unintended consequences.
    • Comments questioning the definition of the collaborative economy, and in particular the size and highly commercial nature of some collaborative platforms.
    • Recognising that there is a mix of (positive and negative) views on the collaborative economy across accommodation sectors.
  • Respondents raised the following issues in relation to transportation and logistics:
    • Reference to the collaborative economy resulting in the creation of powerful global market players, and a suggestion that there is now a need to re-thing the relationship between consumers and public and private providers.
  • Respondents raised the following issues in relation to creating social value and supporting public services:
    • As is noted above, a number of respondents distinguished between collaborative providers with a primary focus on profitability, and genuinely collaborative models which have potential to deliver social value. It was suggested that the collaborative economy has become dominated by commercial interests, and concern expressed around the need to support providers to ensure that opportunities to deliver social value are not lost.
  • Several business and other respondents also highlighted a range of potential barriers to growth:
    • A shortage of digital skills was seen as a significant barrier for collaborative businesses, although another organisation respondent suggested that this had been exacerbated by a lack of investment from employers.
    • Several respondents referred to limited broadband and digital infrastructure as a significant barrier, including suggestions that Scotland trailed the rest of the UK in this regard. This was seen as a particular problem for individuals and small businesses in rural settings, including reference to some businesses relocating due to the slow pace of change.
    • Reference was made to the significant cost of software and equipment required to enable visually impaired people to engage with the collaborative economy - as consumers or providers. This was seen as a potentially significant barrier to access for this population. The importance of enabling visually impaired people to access these opportunities was also highlighted in the context of addressing the disability employment gap.


Email: Corey Reily,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road