Earlier today, Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee in favour of more islanders serving on the boards of organisations like CalMac and HIAL.

The islands MSP was speaking to Petition PE1862 on this subject, lodged by the Uist Economic Task Force in March 2021.

Alasdair Allan MSP told the Committee:

“The petition is - at its essence - about bringing the necessary skills to these boards to enable the best informed and mutually beneficial decision making and governance to take place.

“There is a conspicuous lack of people on these boards who have the experience of living on an island, and who therefore have the personal experience of being lobbied in their daily lives outside work about ferries, or indeed who ever personally experience the consequences of ferries not running.

“Everyone understands that boards do not and should not take day to day operational decisions. But, as the petitioners put it, they should set the policy, define the way of working and set the culture of the organisation. It is also their duty to hold management to account against the outcomes set by the board.

“It is important to note that the call for more island board members should not be seen in isolation. There is, in my view, a wider need to have more senior staff from organisations like CalMac and Transport Scotland based in the Highlands and Islands, and to disperse jobs whenever feasible.” 

This is the seventh time the Committee has discussed this petition. At the end of today’s session, the Committee agreed to keep the petition open and invite the petitioners to give evidence at a future session.

The Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee’s consideration of the petition can be viewed at:


More information about the petition can be found here:


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