Improvements in the handling of regulatory casework are currently under development, for phased implementation from November. This will include online systems for preparing and submitting applications, and a facility for checking the progress of an application, because we know that these are what our customers want.
Experienced regulatory staff are working with our IT specialists to deliver these improvements, as well as dealing with high numbers of regulatory applications. Because of this, the team is experiencing some difficulties in processing applications at the normal pace.
Please do not be concerned if you haven’t heard from us recently about your application. We will be in touch regarding the next stage as soon as we can.
We appreciate your patience whilst we develop our new systems.
Please be assured that we are committed to maintaining our usual high standards of ensuring all applications are thoroughly and fairly considered.
The timescale for processing your regulatory application will depend on which parameters it falls into. Also if the croft is not registered with Registers of Scotland (RoS) it can add a considerable timescale to the application process.
We operate a model of Delegated Decision Making, with officers able to approve straightforward cases that meet all the legislative, policy and parameter requirements. Parameters are set by the Commission for each regulatory function so that they can be considered under the delegated decision making process.
When you have identified the parameters for your application type it will give you an indication of how long the process will take. These timescales cannot be guaranteed as every application is considered on its own merits taking into account the individual circumstances of the case.
These are straightforward cases that meet all the necessary parameters for that regulatory function and allow approval to be made by a Casework officer.
These are cases slightly outwith the parameters set for Tier 1 cases and are considered by a Senior Casework Officer. Applications can be approved, modified or conditioned at Tier 2.
These are cases where Senior Casework Officers at Tier 2 cannot take a decision, typically because it is well outwith parameters and/or there have been objections. Tier 3 cases are considered by a casework group of 3 Commissioners. Only Tier 3 can refuse an application.
Application Validity Checks
All information provided within the application form and maps are checked - there may be correspondence at this point to clarify certain points.
Once checks are complete, an acknowledgement is issued to say the application is valid.
Approx timescale 2-6 weeks depending on whether further information is needed and how quickly it is received.
Most application types need to be advertised and have a 28 day public consultation period to allow for comments, and nothing happens to the application during this time.
Approx timescale 4-8 weeks depending on how quickly the applicant places the advert.
Each application type has a set of parameters defined by the Commission.
If an application is within all parameters, it can proceed to a Tier 1 decision stage.
NOTE - The case cannot move to the decision phase until the croft registration takes place.
Tier 1 Approval
A Casework Officer considers and can approve the case.
A decision letter is issued.
Total time for case assuming no significant hold ups and that croft is already registered before reaching the decision stage = 12 -16 weeks
This may involve one or more of the following processes in addition to that of a straightforward case.
If an objection is received during the 28 day public consultation period, this will immediately mean a decision cannot be taken at Tier 1.
Objections are considered to make sure they are valid (i.e. submitted by someone with a right to do so, and within the 28 day time period) they must then be served on the applicant and go round in a cycle as depicted in the diagram below.
It may be necessary depending on the details and type of application to request SGRPID to do a report on our behalf about agricultural aspect of the application.
There are various factors that can affect how quickly this report is done, such as the location of the croft, the time of year and SGRPID's other obligations.
Typically, we allow a minimum of 6 weeks, however for apportionment applications we request 12 weeks.
Tier 2 Decision
Tier 2 can decide to either: approve the application, escalate it to Tier 3 or request more information.
If more information is requested from the applicant they are given 3 weeks to provide it (plus a reminder if required). Additionally a SGRPID report could be requested at this stage.
If the case is to be escalated to Tier 3, then the information is compiled into a case paper to inform Commissioners' decision.
Total time for case assuming no registration issues = 16-44 weeks
Tier 3 Decision
Tier 3 consists of a 3 Commissioner casework group who meet every 4-6 weeks and only Tier 3 can refuse an application.
They may request more information before making a decision, in which case we could go back round the cycle diagram below before returning to be considered at the next casework group meeting. Additionally more information from SGRPID could be requested at this stage.
In total, this stage could add between 6 and 27 weeks to the overall process.
Total time for case assuming no registration issues = 22-71 weeks