Scottish Government Blogs

February 5, 2016
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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New report published by the CORPORATES Project

This new report provides the background, the process and the outcomes of an interdisciplinary project entitled “The Cooperative Participatory Evaluation of Renewable Technologies on Ecosystem Services (CORPORATES)”, funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

The report can be found at

The CORPORATES project involved colleagues from the MarCRF collaborators Marine Scotland Science (I. Davies, M. Gubbins, A. Kafas, R. O’Hara Murray and K. Wright) and the University of Aberdeen (B.E. Scott, A. MacDonald, T. Potts, A.M. Slater and J.F. Tweddle), in addition to the James Hutton Institute (K.N. Irvine and A. Byg) and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (J. Kenter).

Aim of the Project
The aim of the project was to exchange knowledge between researchers and a range of public and private sector stakeholders around the understanding of marine ecosystem services (ES), in the context of marine spatial planning decisions around marine renewable energy. The project developed a pilot study located at the Firth of Forth, Scotland, considering current development of a number of large windfarms in an area important to both fishing and nature conservation. The project included the involvement of a wide range of highly experienced stakeholders over the course of two day-long workshops in November 2014 and March 2015. While the process centred on a ‘live’ decision-making case study, the focus of the CORPORATES project was to provide an example of a decision support tool for knowledge exchange around ES rather than influencing decision-making in the Forth. The project design and delivery was highly transdisciplinary, involving experts with backgrounds in ecology, oceanography, marine management, policy, law, environmental psychology, anthropology and ecological economics as well as public and private sector stakeholders.


Further Information:
More information about the project can be found at:
If you wish to contact the CORPORATES team, you can email:

February 4, 2016
by SG Admin
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Are you sitting comfortably?

Gillian Howell – Senior Marketing Manager – Safer Marketing

Take a glance through any of the SG campaigns I’ve worked on and you could be forgiven for wondering why they all seem to need to come with the disclaimer ‘approach with caution’.

It’s true I do have a knack for associating myself with campaigns about some of the least pleasant subject matters. Knives, drugs, forced marriage and now – for my final act as an SG marketing secondee – child sexual exploitation. Call me weird but there’s just something about tussling with gritty, sensitive topics that I find interesting, dare I say enjoyable.

To be clear, there’s nothing positive to say about child sexual exploitation (CSE) itself. It’s a devastating, complex form of abuse. Sure I’d read about it in the news and heard the horrendous reports from Rotherham and Rochdale but if you’d asked me to explain what it actually was I would have struggled.

And it seems I’m not the only one. Parents in Scotland don’t have a complete picture when it comes to understanding CSE. Mention it and they think of children in care or from families with a history of abuse being trafficked in gangs at the hands of organised networks. As a result they understandably don’t see it posing any kind of real threat to their children. Because surely you would see something like that coming a mile off right? And if you have a boy, you can probably remove it altogether from your mental list of ‘things to worry about’ right?

Well, I’m sorry to say, not necessarily. Continue Reading →

February 4, 2016
by planningarchitecture
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Independent Planning Review Online Discussion Forum

UPDATE: Due to an enthusiastic response the online forum will now remain open until midday on 29th February. Thank you for all your contributions so far.

Haven’t posted yet? Sign up today and make your views heard.

Having your say

As part of the on-going review of planning, the independent panel launched a call for written evidence on 20 October 2015. This was open until 1 December 2015 and the panel received a high number of responses from a diverse group of respondents.

The review is on-going and, given the high level of interest in the review, the panel are keen to give everyone another opportunity to have a  say on how the planning system could be improved.

An online discussion forum, hosted on the Scottish Government platform Dialogue, will be open from 18 January for a 3 week period.  The online forum will give everybody a chance to put their views and ideas forward in a public forum, and will be hosted by the Scottish Government on behalf of the independent panel.

You can access the forum here:

Why a forum?

The purpose of this forum is to provide a further opportunity for input from all interested stakeholders and individuals. The panel are aware that people have a lot to say when asked about the planning system, and are keen to create a place where everyone has an opportunity to do so.

It also allows for a conversation between individuals. Discussion and debate, ideas and recommendations to the panel are positively encouraged as part of this.

This is the first time we’ve hosted a discussion on the planning system. Dialogue has worked well for other Scottish Government departments, with successful discussions focused on a variety of topics, from benefits for carers to fishing for wild salmon in Scotland.

Making use of your recommendations and comments

The forum provides a platform for anyone with an interest in planning to engage with the review beyond the formal calls for evidence.

Comments and recommendations posted on this forum will be brought together into a report for the panel. The report will summarise the key discussion topics and issues. This will be supplementary to the formal written evidence analysis and will be used to inform the thinking and reporting of the panel.

We would encourage you to rate and comment on ideas posted by other users, whether you agree or disagree.

How to use the forum

All you have to do to post an idea is create an account. This can be done using a handle or a pseudonym; you don’t have to use your real name.

This is a more informal approach than the call for written evidence. Here you don’t have to submit a full written response to raise a point or opinion on a particular topic, you can simply raise an issue and invite views from others.

Moderation and monitoring

As the review of planning is being carried out by an independent panel this forum will be hosted on a Scottish Government platform on their behalf. Members of the Planning Review Secretariat will moderate comments in accordance with the Scottish Government Moderation Policy.

The secretariat and the independent panel will not be answering questions or responding directly to any of the comments.  The forum provided is simply an open space where wider discussion can take place.

We hope that the forum will provide a useful opportunity for discussion and look forward to receiving your constructive comments and feedback for consideration by the panel.

February 4, 2016
by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
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FM announces support for oil and gas industry

Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland plays a crucial part in our economy and remains central to driving future growth and prosperity in Scotland.

Clearly, the oil and gas industry is central to Aberdeen’s economy and will continue to be for decades to come, but there is also enormous potential elsewhere in the region.

On top of the £1 billion we are already providing to the area, we last week announced an investment package  as part of the City Deal and additional support in key infrastructure in the North East to further emphasis Aberdeen’s status as one of the world’s leading cities for business and industry.

However, while that funding is an unequivocal message of support and confidence in the region, I understand it has been a difficult and anxious time for not only those who work in the oil and gas industry, but also their families.

It has been incredibly tough for many businesses and we are committed to working hand in hand with them to maximise their value and see them through this period of uncertainty.

Our Energy Jobs Taskforce is coordinating action and laying a solid foundation for a truly modernised North Sea oil industry and has helped support more than 2,500 individuals and 100 employers through the current downturn. We recently held a special session of Cabinet centring on the oil and gas industry where we agreed to focus our efforts, along with those of the Energy Jobs Taskforce, on the key areas of skills, exploration, innovation, and access to finance.

People who face losing their jobs in the oil and gas sector will be helped to transition into other energy industry and manufacturing employment through a new £12 million Transition Training Fund, which will help maintain the highly skilled energy workforce in the North Sea region by offering grants to individuals to support their redeployment through retraining or further education

Of course, we welcome recent industry announcements from the UK Government but the substance of the Prime Minister’s announcement contained very few new measures, and he has missed an opportunity to provide the sector with assurance that it needs.

The sector needs and deserves clarity on whether further fiscal reform will be delivered in the March Budget – it did not get that.

The Scottish Government is considering further actions to support the oil and gas sector and the North East of Scotland and will continue to engage in discussions with the industry to help deliver the urgent action required.

Learn more about the First Minister’s trip to Aberdeen.


February 4, 2016
by Ian MacFarlane
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Warm Hearts in Possilpark

On 15 January, I attended my first Community Networking Breakfast in Possilpark run by NG Homes.  These networking events take place monthly and are a fantastic opportunity for people who work and live in the community to come together to share information about the excellent work taking place locally to strengthen the community and build networks to help make Possilpark the best possible place to live.

At this month’s event, we heard about some of the challenges which face the community, including issues with the physical environment.  For example, where are the safe places for children to play?  What facilities exist for holding community events?  A clear aspiration of those within the community is to make Possilpark an appealing place to live and somewhere that others want to visit.

Presentations included an inspirational input about ‘Open Gates’, a charity which works to restore the lives of those in the community who are disadvantaged, prisoners and ex-offenders through education, vocational training and work experience.  This particularly highlighted that community development isn’t all about money and that, in fact, it’s possible to make meaningful change through drawing on the skills and experience of the people who make up the community.

I also had a very interesting conversation with Evelyn Gibson, Head Teacher at Saracen Primary about her ambition for all kids at the school to be able to swim and ride a bike before finishing their primary education.

A number of events will be taking place over the next few weeks to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  My colleagues and I were delighted to receive invitations.  On 28 January, The Confederation of Fujian Association in Scotland UK and Kut-O Chinese Association of Europe will welcome about 300 elderly residents from across the area to a celebratory meal at the See Woo restaurant.  One of my colleagues will be going along to join in the celebrations. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and am very much looking forward to much more engagement with this welcoming and inspiring community.

Gillian Russell, Director of Safer Communities, Scottish Government


The further comments were received in connection with this event:

NG Homes

It was great to welcome Gillian and colleagues along to the monthly community networking breakfast held at Saracen House in Possilpark.  NG Homes started the breakfast programme around 3 years ago and its popularity has grown and there are constantly new people coming along. The formula works really well with ‘Speakers Corner’ being a popular element and this time we were delighted also to include EPIC 360, a lottery funded financial capability project working across Glasgow.

As ever, it was a very vibrant and diverse event with around 65 people attending including community organisations, local residents, head teachers and social enterprises.

Gillian was able to see for herself the welcoming space created and a real ‘buzz of conversations and connections being made throughout the morning’.   Gillian also got to meet with some other partners such as Scottish Fire Rescue Services, Police Scotland and NG Homes Director of Regeneration, John Devine, who shared their vision for the area and some of the practical ways that they are working jointly to deliver on Building Safer Communities in the Possilpark area.  We are looking forward to following this up in the near future with a walk around the Possilpark and a chance to chat to local residents and partners.

Margaret Layden, Regeneration Manager, said:  “It was good of Gillian to speak at the event and give an overview of her role in Building Safer Communities which added another dimension. She was very approachable and took time to mingle with those attending the event.  You are welcome back any time Gillian.”

Betty Elliott from The Spark said:

‘I have been attending the NG Homes Community Network monthly for a few years now and it has given me the opportunity to really connect with the people who work to support the local community. The format works because it is being run by a community based organisation and those who attend are generally operational, it has a grass roots feel about it. Attendees are mainly interested in helping their clients and not too caught up in the politics of impressing.  It’s a great development opportunity for people to represent their organisation and speak out on their behalf in a non-hostile environment.

I’m delighted to have been able to promote many of The Spark’s services at the Community Network, especially the Scottish Government funded free national Relationship Helpline service and our free Family Counselling service.  Supporting relationships across communities and within families, for children, young people, individuals and couples is core to our work, and the Network enables us to collectively do so much more effectively.  It’s a real assets based approach that works.

Gillian’s friendly and approachable manner fitted perfectly with the Network’s informal environment.’  


February 3, 2016
by SG Admin
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Balancing your budget to stay out of debt

Nicola Clark-Tonberg - Marketing Manager - Smarter

As someone who can’t resist a Christmas bargain, and often fibs to her husband that her new party frock only cost £5, it was timely that I was asked to support Comms colleagues at Accountant in Bankruptcy with their latest Scotland’s Financial Health Service campaign. I’m delighted to introduce a guest blog from Suzan Gunn who talks about the campaign, and how managing your money and balancing the budget can be a lot easier than you think, using the Scotland’s Financial Health Service portal.

And, like me, I’m sure you’ll learn some nifty budgeting tips. Now, where did I put that receipt?

Suzan Gunn - Communications Officer - Accountant in Bankruptcy

For many people, the new year brings with it the dread of bills hitting the doormat after the pressures of Christmas. But it’s not all doom-and-gloom: new year’s resolutions provide the ideal opportunity to ditch bad habits.

Therefore, the start of the year is the ideal  time to launch a campaign to highlight ways to manage your money better and avoid the pitfalls of debt.

Launched on January 18: Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year, apparently – the new Scotland’s Financial Health Service campaign is targeted at those experiencing money issues and aims to signpost them to the information they need to manage their money better and find the help they need before they fall into financial difficulty.

Scotland’s Financial Health Service was developed by Accountant in Bankruptcy and launched by the Scottish Government to provide a one-stop-shop for those who have money problems or are seeking general help with their financial worries.  The website and telephone helpline do not provide advice directly but aims  to help people in need to find the most appropriate support in their local area.

This year’s Balance Your Budget campaign creative features a man sitting on a seesaw with his monthly expenses signified on the other side, illustrating how people’s finances can easily be knocked out of kilter and seeks to promote the ambition of striking the right balance when it comes to income and expenditure. Continue Reading →

February 2, 2016
by Nicole Carter
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Can we use technology to make our justice system better for the people of Scotland?

This is the big question as we look at improving it in the light of advances and opportunities in technology.

A vision exists, and a strong will from the many organisations involved, including the police, crown, courts and tribunal service, legal aid board and prison service.

The only way to tackle work of this scope is to break it down into manageable projects, but even these are daunting in their scale and will take time and investment to develop, implement and embed.

Work is underway to specify the opportunities that digital technology could bring to create better services and longer term financial savings in the criminal justice system.

This could be through the capture and use of evidence digitally, such as witness statements, victims’ accounts or a recording from a camera worn by a police officer.

This evidence could be shared securely and speedily to ensure the right people have the right information, where it upholds the law and is economically efficient to do so.

We are now contacting operations and frontline colleagues from these organisations and other justice partners to better understand the types of evidence that exist currently, how this information is managed and what plans for introducing new technology may already be in place.

We are interested in opinions and ideas from those who work daily in the criminal justice system and those who use it.

If you work in an organisation that is part of, or linked to criminal justice, including those in the third sector, we would like to hear from you. Please email and we’ll be in touch.

We also have teams looking at how civil justice works in Scotland, but that is a post for another day.

February 2, 2016
by Ruth Allen
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Regional IFG Chair Recruitment

Marine Scotland is seeking to appoint two independent Chairs for the West Coast and North & East Coast Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups, for an initial period of 18 months.  There are five inshore fisheries management bodies in Scotland. These appointments relate to the two mainland Inshore Fisheries Groups.

Inshore Fisheries Groups (IFGs) are non-statutory bodies that develop and take forward inshore fisheries management plans for their respective areas. Their aim is to improve the management of Scotland’s inshore fisheries out to six nautical miles, and to give commercial inshore fishermen an effective voice in wider marine management developments.

Two Regional IFGs are being formed to cover the West Coast and the North & East Coast of Scotland. This new structure replaces four IFGs that currently cover the mainland coast and will be in place from April 2016. Background information on IFGs, including the creation of the Regional IFGs, can be found at

Further Information


February 1, 2016
by Ruth Allen
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Join us on a mission to save Scotland from ‪#‎ClimateChange

Go Greener Together logoThe Scottish Government has launched a new mission to tackle climate change.

Your Mission Objectives are:

Mission 1 - Don’t sweat the small stuff. Turn down your thermostat by just one degree. You’ll cut your energy bills by around £90 a year and help create a cleaner Scotland. You won’t even feel the difference, you’ll still be warm and cosy.

Mission 2 – Make a clean getaway. Set the washing machine to 30 degrees, it’ll save energy and cut those fuel bills. Besides, a lower temperature wash is kinder to your clothes and they’ll emerge just as clean.

Mission 3Give food waste the chop by using up leftovers, reducing what you buy and planning meals before you shop. The average Scottish household throws away around £470 worth of food every year. Shop savvy and you’ll not just have less waste, you’ll have more money too.

Mission 4Engage leg power: leave the car behind for all those short trips and walk instead. You cut down on CO2 emissions and help create a cleaner, less congested Scotland. You’ll feel great too – walking helps us cope with stress, burns calories and feels good.

More information

January 30, 2016
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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Marine Scotland Staff Clean Up: 29 January 2015

Torry Beach, near Capston Pier, following the recent floods

It’s amazing what a little effort can do. Before the beach clean…..
Torry Beach near Capston Pier - Before Beach Clean
…..and then after three Thursday lunchtime clean-ups.
Torry Beach near Capston Pier - After Beach Clean web


For further details about a locally organised clean-up this Saturday, please follow the link to this Facebook page:

Please note that this event is not organised or endorsed by Marine Scotland.