Commission is slammed in new report into governance practices
THE Crofting Commission has been given a damning indictment of its activities in a scathing governance review.
The review was undertaken at the request of the Scottish Government and makes damning reading about the current practice within the commission.
Business advisers Scott-Moncrieff said: ‘There have been notable failures in governance within the Crofting Commission, at both executive and non- executive levels. The commission has not been working as a fully effective, co- ordinated entity.
‘It has spent considerable time discussing internal problems and reacting to crises and conflicts.
‘ While no body operates without pressures and setbacks, the commission has been particularly impaired in this respect.’
The report continued: ‘Strong per- sonalities, differences of opinion and apparent incongruent individual objectives and priorities have also impaired effective and efficient governance.
‘What could be perceived by some individuals as a passion for supporting crofting and “doing the right thing” for crofters can simultaneously create an entrenched and inflexible approach to addressing and resolving challenges facing the commission.
‘This has repeatedly led to personality clashes, a culture without full and transparent exchange of equally-important views, and a breakdown of some relationships which are crucial to good governance.’
In regard to a meeting that hit the headlines last year, the report said: ‘The way in which the September 2016 Brora board meeting and the subsequent repercussions have been handled must have eroded crofters’ and the wider public’s perception of the ability of the commission to operate as a cohesive and focused unit. This type of adverse publicity is overshadowing the commission and its staff. It is detracting from the wider outcomes and achievements of the organisation.’
The report also cites issues with documentation and the robustness of records management alongside lack of respect for each other within the organisation.
The findings of the review are being carefully considered, as chief executive of the Crofting Commission, Bill Bar- ron, explained: ‘A number of important points have been made in the governance review and we are committed to ensuring robust processes are in place to achieve a high standard of governance within the organisation.
‘I will be putting in place a full action plan to ensure these points are addressed, as requested by the Rural Economy Secretary.
‘We have already made some of the improvements recommended in the review and we are developing a comprehensive induction programme for the new board of commissioners following the elections in March 2017.
‘Continuous improvement within the commission, and building on the recommendations from the review, will help us to create a focused and effective organisation working to secure the future of crofting.’