The Scottish Government has recently consulted on the setting up of a new National Care Service which in principle we support. Orkney has the most rapidly ageing community in Scotland, and one in four of us have a long-term medical condition requiring ongoing medical or social care. It’s therefore vital that we attract and retain carers, both in a family or professional context, and we are particularly anxious to attract young people into this most rewarding of careers. Two new care homes have been or are opening shortly in Stromness and Kirkwall, and Green Councillors have backed these proposals.

Carers need to be paid and valued more, and we will help to ensure that the National Care Service does just that when set up, whilst protecting local accountability in our islands. We need a Care Service tailored to our islands, and not one that has been designed in Edinburgh. Green Councillors sit on Integrated Joint Boards, and Green Ministers in Government will help to ensure that these developments materialise.

We will:

  • Prioritise increasing the pay and contract stability of carers, to help to attract and retain new and existing people into this most satisfying of careers.

  • Help to ensure that a National Care Service in Orkney is tailored to our island needs with attractive terms and conditions of employment.

  • Support the ‘Hope Co-housing’ co-operative and other innovative ‘care in the community’ initiatives.


Young Orcadians should get the best education possible and be well equipped to take on future life opportunities at home or elsewhere. We’d like education linked to a Just Transition and to see a greater collaboration with the renewable energy sector and other sustainable industries. We’d also push for young people and parents to be given a meaningful role in the governance of education in Orkney as has been the norm across Scotland for years. Additionally, we support the expansion of current outdoor education programmes and encourage further local nature-based learning such as currently undertaken by the Orkney Native Wildlife Project.

We will:

  • Work with nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities in Orkney to promote greater collaboration and partnerships to develop and deliver courses for the net-zero economy and society.

  • We will explore undergraduate renewable energy courses via Heriot Watt University, the University of the Highlands and Islands and others to create local pathways into the industries of the future.

  • Review the model of governance for Orkney college with less Orkney Islands Council influence and the development of a more collaborative and community-oriented model.

  • Mandate companies which bid for substantial Orkney Islands Council contracts through procurement policies to provide modern apprenticeships, and graduate placements to young local people.

  • Expand and develop the existing career service to better support young Orcadians plan for their future.

  • Review Orkney Islands Council governance structures to ensure that a student and a parent are co-opted to the Education Committee, and that an elected Councillor is appointed as Orkney Islands Council’s ‘Young People Champion’ who attends all Youth Forum meetings and liaises with schools and Parent Councils.


Orkney has a good record in funding Community Councils and indeed won a national award for their role in supporting communities during COVID. We’d like to go further and propose a Community Rejuvenation Project where we put money back into communities to clean up community areas, develop green spaces, and maintain existing paths and signs which are looking worse for wear. Local Place Plans are community led plans to be introduced under new planning legislation. These local initiatives have great potential to enable us to think differently in Orkney about some of our most important spaces.

We will:

  • Initiate a Community Rejuvenation Project in partnership with Community Councils to create new shared green spaces, clean up existing paths and signs, and develop joined up walking circuits across Kirkwall and elsewhere to promote an active lifestyle including more public play parks.

  • Review Community Council operations to deploy more powers and resources locally to implement projects by new Local Place Plans.

  • Orkney Islands Council should designate Liaison Officers for social housing schemes across Orkney to promote community involvement in Council services and higher amenity standards through the incoming Local Place initiatives.

  • Investigate the further pedestrianisation of Kirkwall at peak times in the tourist season to give a pleasant car-free space for locals and tourists alike.


Public trust in Orkney Islands Council has hit an all-time low. We strongly believe that an overhaul of policies regarding public relations would help to rebuild public trust in Orkney Islands Council and help develop a good working relationship between Orkney Islands Council and local communities. Elected Councillors are barometers of local communities who understand the challenges they face and are ideally placed to advise about solutions and new initiatives.

With more Green Councillors we will:

  • Overhaul how Orkney Islands Council informs and engages with the public to ensure people are well informed on what Orkney Islands Council is doing, and that Orkney Islands Council is transparent in how it behaves and can be held to account.

  • Re-evaluate every Council service to ensure that it is accessible and easy-to-use for members of the public. This includes commissioning a new Orkney Islands Council website to replace the inaccessible and severely outdated current one.

  • Promote collaboration with external partners and a culture of helpful friendly service within Orkney Islands Council to ensure the public receive the best service they can.

  • Ensure Councillors are supported to take leadership of their remits and assign spokespeople to lead on key policy areas. This is common elsewhere in political councils and ensures that Councillors are providing leadership, being accountable for Orkney Islands Council decisions, and for setting the agenda, rather than these responsibilities being carried out by the officials.

  • Significantly improve the data Orkney Islands Council collects on local statistics. Orkney is considered to be ‘data poor’ across a range of areas, as recently highlighted by a study of the Orkney economy carried out by the Fraser of Allander Institute. This makes it hard to make informed decisions and for the public to effectively hold decision makers to account.

  • Review how Orkney Islands Council operates to make the role of councillor more accessible for under-represented groups like women and young people. For example, investigating practices such as set 3-day weeks, blended meetings, on-line or remote meetings, and greater support for those with parental/caring responsibilities.

  • Introduce a Question and Answers session at the start of each full council meeting and an Open forum at the close that allows the public to ask questions of their Council.