Why are the Crofting Commissioners not meeting?

Why are the Crofting Commissioners not meeting

No commissioners to be seen at Great Glen House this past week

Following the controversial Crofting Commission board meeting in Brora their next one was set down to take place at Great Glen House in Inverness on 9 November 2016. However a few days before the date of that meeting a notice appeared on the Crofting Commission’s website stating that:-

The Board meeting due to take place on 9 November has been postponed, as several Commissioners are not available on that date. A new date is being arranged and will be notified as soon as possible.

This is quite extraordinary. These meetings are scheduled months, perhaps a whole year, in advance. Commissioners know when they are happening and should be available for them. There will always be occasions when a commissioner can’t make the meeting for good reason but the meetings continue regardless with those who can attend.

Meetings of the Crofting Commission  must consist of at least five members. Where there are three or more elected members, the quorum must include no fewer than three such members.

There are currently seven commissioners in post out of the nine possible, with two positions waiting to be filled following the resignations of Susan Walker and William Swann.

So were at least three of the commissioners not able to attend the meeting on 9 November and if so why not?

Commissioners may attend meetings by videoconference or by teleconference if not able to attend in person. Is it really the case that at least three commissioners could not attend in person and could not attend by videoconference or by teleconference?

There does not appear to be anything in the Standing Orders relating to the Conduct of Meetings for the Crofting Commission allowing the postponement or rescheduling of a meeting in advance of it taking place once a date has been fixed.

There are provisions on the day of the meeting if a quorum is not present for the Convener to allow ten minutes before adjourning the meeting and fixing a time, then or afterwards, for it to take place.

As often seems to be the case these days the Crofting Commission appear to be ignoring the rules and making it up as they go along.

It has been suggested by some that the divisions within the board, and the position that has prevailed since the Brora meeting, mean they simply cannot meet and cannot make decisions at board level. At least not whilst the current Convener remains in post.

Bill Barron, on being appointed interim Chief Executive, said:-

I am looking forward to working with everyone at the Crofting Commission and our partners, to ensure that the Commission remains focused on giving a good service to crofters, promoting and protecting the interests of crofting, and providing effective regulation.

Not a good start to his watch for him to allow the first board meeting to be cancelled. There is clearly actually a severe lack of focus on giving a good service to crofters, promoting and protecting the interests of crofting, and providing effective regulation.

Meantime the Scottish Government has formally announced its review into the governance of the Crofting Commission. The latest goings on at Great Glen House, this past week alone, demonstrate how necessary such a review actually is.

Brian Inkster

8 thoughts on “Why are the Crofting Commissioners not meeting?

  1. Linda Brackenbury

    Its a small word that wreaks havoc in the lives of far too many, “FEAR” of the unknown..that’s what is wrong with the board members,
    could it be that with the ex-convener showing up last week and even though he was ignored that many have allowed their fear to overrule their heads, seems to me that no one who is anyone wants to be anywhere near the firing line when the situation does finally erupt, and it will.

    His arrogance has once again caught the Crofting Commission off guard..how many more times will they lay down to him..he is after all just a man.

  2. Kenny Macdonald

    Crofting crises consolidated.

    Crofting Commission convener Colin cannot convene commissioners’ customary conventicle .

    Clandestine covert conclave concocts conventicle cancellation, creating crofter concern.

    Could comfortable chairs cum candescence, create conventicle Collaborative conference climate?

    1. John Martin

      Kenneth Macdonald i am shocked to hear that you are a father considering the childish manner in which you are conducting yourself..I , amongst others, am thoroughly sick of your sanctimonious monotone voice on Gaelic media making believe that you are some kind of educated christian..I personally think you are a buffoon and it must be something to do with what you are feeding your chickens as, the very same illness seems to be affecting the laughing stock disgracing Ness, Donald love himself Macsween.. I was ‘n t going to get involved in this but, due to the bias and lies i feel i must now..I myself was a complainant within the township in which i live and was left with no option but to summon the Crofting Commission as a result of a bullying, dictatorial committee that had been ignoring law and making up their own..I had no option but be a complainant and was forced to call in the Commission against my father’s brother and first cousin(who are both first cousins of your ex clerk Calum Maclean who hails from our village) her husband and a person born on the mainland.. There was one more member who was blissfully ignorant of laws being broken until, i filled him in on details when i sent for our file under the f.o.i. act that opened his eyes to what had been kept from shareholders…Shareholders were being illegally kept out of two parks that were a pertinent of their crofts rights while, at the same time, the committee were spending resumption monies that should have been paid out when the Stornoway Trust sold an extensive block of our grazing to the Western Isles Council for an extension to the landfill site..The original dump came out of our grazing also together with two quarries, a scrap yard and a wireless station…Monies that should have been paid out were being spent and at the same time keeping shareholders out of part of their own grazing and illegally placing levies on shareholders that were grazing one of the new parks out at the landfill site.All must be levied for maintenance and improvements are to be sanctioned by shareholders..One of our shareholders,who is the brother of your ex clerk Calum Maclean, broached one of the subjects that prompted me to bring home the Commission–the 2 parks– and was told by the then clerk-my uncle and his first cousin- to shut his mouth and not mention the two parks again as they were nothing to do with the township…He knew fine well what he was saying was wrong as, he had been told as clerk by various individuals, both at the Department of Agriculture and the Commission at the time of the i.ac.s. in 1994, that the two parks were for the joint exclusive use of all shareholders within our township..This transpired before i was attending meetings and the said Maclean did shut his mouth and ran away from it until i came along and fought the case with him doing much fireside fighting but, very little at meetings…The official charged with looking at our case was about as much use as a chocolate fireguard, and did nothing but procrastinate and dither costing us money and prolonging the agony, until fortunately, he retired..The four dissenters were even wanting compensation for parks that had been established in 1961,for which no records had been kept, with no fence surrounding it and knee deep in moss and heather.. Only one of the four was even born in 1961 and he was only eleven but, you can see the damage that can be done in a township by one family…I attempted to engage David Balharry of the Commission but he was unavailableto attend as i felt only an outsider with no ties other than the” ties” as laid out in the Crofting Act would suffice as Stornoway is rotten to the core..Thankfully the very capable Colin Kennedy and Susan Walker,-who were pulling on the same oar,- stepped into the breach..What had taken me six years with no foreseeable end in sight was rectified within the first twenty five minutes of our meeting which was attended by shareholders who had been given the files for themselves and,who had found a bit of guts to attend the usually angry meetings if they did not go the way of the dictators…The ex clerk in Upper Coll’s brother, and most of the shareholders, who attended were overjoyed save one or two..One of the dissenters did not attend the meeting herself but sent her husband, also a dissenter, in her stead and he summoned, on his wife’s behalf, the commissioners to her home for “coffee”…Before they left they told me that what had been agreed at the meeting would not be changed but, that is exactly what she attempted to do as relayed to me by Susan Walker a day or two later..Needless to say it did not work..This is what happens when you have a committee that deviate from the Act, its regulations and fairness in general…I heard you say Kenneth Macdonald on one of your many monotone efforts on the Gaelic radio that–“if you had listened to the estate factor then your committee would have kept what was left of shareholder’s monies and not paid it out..Let me tell you –and i will take the oath on this–that when we were having our troubles in our township and when i was gathering material that the factor said to me that,–“the monies that our township received for the land resumed for the landfill site, or any resumption, should have been paid out to shareholders as stated in the resumption orders and in the Act”…I knew this to be fact myself as i had received all the resumption orders within our township from the Commission and, had my own copy of the Act together with our regulations…You should read yours Kenneth…I informed your ex clerk Calum Maclean in his brother Donald’s house at 11 Newvalley in his brother’s presence, well over three years ago now of what was in sect 21(4) a, b, c etc of the Act and to whom the resumption monies belonged..He never answered me but, it is my opinion that the learned headmaster understood, anyway, our factor would have undoubtedly put him straight if he would not accept it from me, after all, he told me where the monies should have gone according to the Act…It is time you got stock yourself in order that you may appreciate the work that goes into sheep and cattle as opposed to hens..Your ex clerk as a trustee on our estate should not be working with the estate in order to sell of his shareholder’s rights and pasture, lowering their subsidy and souming and then spending the monies that should have gone into their pockets.That is more than a conflict of interests..That is beyond a committees powers or, ultra virus and theft in my book..If you sell your car is there a committee waiting to spend your money?..I will testify that the brother of your ex clerk was running sheep he bought in Harris on the Upper Coll grazing minus ear tags and, only tagged them when they came up to Newvalley on him receiving an inspection notice from the Department as he is a new start and this happens…Not a very christian thing to be doing, running your brother’s sheep on other folk’s grazing unknown to them whilst at the same time attempting to destroy legitimate shareholders trying to run cattle.Perhaps the minister should be informed..I have heard the meeting with your township and the Commissioners on youtube and i was flabbergasted at how deaf you are not only to anything that makes sense but also, to the law of the land as laid down in the Act. Cliques don’t last Kenneth..It must be terrible to be hearing these voices in your head

  3. Kenny Macdonald

    Constable Colin communique.
    Constable Colin considers crofters commission’s committee credentials cancellation, contravened crofting charter codification.

    Committee can’t count; Cops called!

    Convener Colin communique.
    (Clayfooted) Commission character critique completely clear!

    Committee can’t count; Cops called.

    Col- uarach communique

    Commission’s constable controls committee chronicles; cops cancel collection.

    Late notification.

    Klingon awards. Insightful journalism 2016.

    Ist place (equal) Oban Times.
    Ist place (equal) The Scottish Farmer.

  4. Donald Macsween

    I’m delighted that I can provide some laughter in these tough times. Thanks for bringing up the subject of my hens. Yes, I have several hundred and the eggs are available throughout Lewis & Harris. Thanks once again for your support in providing me with some advertising.

  5. Linda Brackenbury

    Capable Kennedy–of CHAOS!
    Infighting among the locals? he’d love it..ah but alas..John Martin if that is who you are..you might be K’s number one fan on the other hand you do sound awfully like the man himself..known throughout the isles for his written longwinded rants. 🙂

  6. Kenny Macdonald

    Latest notification.

    Klingon awards. Buffoon of the year 2016.
    Winner Kenny Macdonald. Ba. Ba.

    Notes for impending BBC interview.
    (Must be sanctimonious and monotone.)
    Q1 Were you expecting this additional Buffoon award as well as the bonehead award?
    Well, I was as surprised as anyone considering the strong field of candidates this year. It’s a real honour.
    Q2 So what difference will this make if you go ahead and accept the position of clerk for Upper Coll for a year?
    It means I can go for the ‘Ali’ pugilist of the year award as I already have two of the set. This will definitely help me.
    Q3 How will that help in your tasks going forward?
    Let me tell you. A well known public quango won the lot in 2015 and as I understand it, when you have the three awards ( Ali Ba Ba ) you win the use of a magic lamp. They used theirs to turn a constable into an investigating officer.
    Just like that.


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