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Regulatory Application Process

WE ARE NOW IN A POSITION TO ACCEPT NEW APPLICATIONS but there are limitations read more here

The West Higland Free Press is back in circulation so as of 13 August 2020 the Commission will resume advertising in the WHFP, as a result we will NOT be placing any more adverts in the P&J.

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.

Please read this important information regarding effecting Commission regulatory decisions.

What are Parameters?

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.

Tier 1

These are straightforward cases that meet all the necessary parameters for that regulatory function and allow approval to be made by a Casework officer.

Tier 2

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.

Tier 3

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.

Tier 1 - Straightforward Case

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.
  • 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.
  • 4-8 weeks depending on how quickly the applicant places the advert.

Parameter Checks
  • 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

Tier 2 & 3 - Complex Case

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

Total potential time of cycle; 3-8 weeks

Timescale Cycle

Covid -19

The Commission is now accepting new applications, but as all staff continue to work from home and the office remains closed, these will be processed more slowly than usual. Any applications that relate to statutory deadlines, or which concern a Crofting Register form to notify the Commission that an event has taken place, will be given priority over other applications.

Where applications require a site visit, it will not be possible for any site visit to be carried out until the government eases the current restrictions on movement.Where any application involves a hearing, no hearings will take place until the current restrictions on movement are eased and the government has advised that public meetings (with appropriate physical distancing) can take place.

Approved Applications:

If you are a crofter who has had an application approved by the Commission within the last 3 months
Please read this important information regarding effecting Commission regulatory decisions.

You can continue to contact us by email and although we are now in a position to deal with phone calls to our reception line, few staff have access to work phones to make return calls and therefore the service will be limited. We would therefore ask that you continue to contact us via email.

The Commission understands that this is a difficult time for all concerned, but we wish to reassure crofters and their agents that we will continue to work to restore normal levels of service. It is unlikely that this can be fully restored until the government permits offices to reopen and for various restrictions on movements and meetings to be eased.
20 May 2020.

Crofting Commission, Great Glen House, Leachkin Road, Inverness, IV3 8NW 



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