David Campbell, Appointed Commissioner tells us more.
As I, and other Commissioners, approach the beginning of our final year as Board members at the Crofting Commission there are a number of thoughts that go through my mind as I think of those that may take our place.
Joining the Board of any organisation is a daunting step, corporate responsibility for the organisations performance, strategic leadership and direction to senior staff, setting organisational policy, the public face of the organisation are to name but a few of the responsibilities that come with the role.
It is right that we are judged on what we deliver, however, there are some objectives that sit outwith those listed above that are equally as important within the context of the Crofting Commission.
The election of a Board made up mostly of crofters is a unique and fantastic thing, but it does leave the Board make up at the mercy of those who stand. It’s a big step to put yourself on a public platform and the thought can be daunting for some. However, crofting is a diverse occupation, and the sector needs a diverse Board if it is to fairly and consistently represent the crofting community.
Understanding the demographic of crofting is important, understanding the make-up of the crofting counties, the regional differences, the localness of activities, the diversity of activities undertaken, the need to support fragile rural places and communities, are all important elements that prospective Board members should hold to.
The need for a diverse Board has never been stronger, the Commission having recently been handed a strengthened support from the government to lead the promotion & development of crofting and that development role has to make crofting more attractive, more rewarding for all those who are active in their crofting communities.
The Crofting Commission is a diverse employer, with approximately 30 females and 20 males across a spread of the age range, giving a good mix of young drive and enthusiasm and some very experienced heads, making up the compliment of the team. Yet the Board this term has been a 1 to 8 split. It would be to the benefit of crofting if we could move to more of an even mix from Spring 2022 when the new Board is formed.
We know there is a pent-up demand from young people, in some areas, to be involved in crofting, we know the benefits that young legs and strong shoulders bring to hard work, I know that I would love my successor to be much younger than myself.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that nearly 40% of all crofters are women yet when it comes to the body charged with promoting crofting, the Board doesn’t reflect this in any way, to many old and grey-headed men like myself. We need our women crofters to step forward, overcome the challenges and become not just the crofters but the crofting decision makers.
Are you a female crofter, do you care passionately about crofting, about crofting communities, do you want to make crofting more accessible, more rewarding, are you willing to learn the role of Board member (very few of the current or previous Board had experience of sitting on a board when they started – it’s not an essential criteria). The process for electing a new Board starts in the late autumn, now is the time to be considering standing for election or if you’re not currently a crofter but want to be involved, there is an appointed Board position coming up at the same time.
There are 7 board meetings between now and the end of the term, which given current circumstances, are held online, why don’t you join us to see what the role entails, listen in, speak to current Commissioners about the role, they all have a story to tell, they all have a passion for crofting, for strengthening communities where crofting is found.
Take the first step, get in touch via the Commissions website Contact FAQ | Crofting Commission (scotland.gov.uk) or social media channels, or if you know a current Commissioner give them a call – the rewards of the role can be life changing.
Mairi Mackenzie, our only female Commissioner, would be happy to have a chat with anyone who wants to hear how she stood for the Board and what her first impressions were email@example.com