Implementing the Rural Economic Framework

Action Plan

National Performance Framework

The report – A New Blueprint for Scotland’s Rural Economy: Recommendations to Scottish Ministers, published by the National Council of Rural Advisors, makes a primary recommendation of developing a Rural Economic Framework (REF).

This proposes a rural implementation of the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework.

The NCRA has a bold and ambitious vision for the future of Scotland’s rural economy, and believes to achieve this vision will require radical change and a new approach to policy-making and action. We agree entirely with their ethos and recommended policy actions, and define how can help achieve these through this action plan.

Rural Economy Action Group

The NCRA recommends that a Rural Economy Action Group should be convened to drive forward progress, and lists a number of How To Make It Happen initial action plan ideas.

10J. Replicate the Scottish Cities Alliance model for rural economy, to bring together rural interests to grow, promote and encourage investment in Scotland’s rural economy.

This is the primary purpose of We provide a collaborative forum intended to unite all 2,000+ of Scotland’s towns and villages under a banner concept of bringing smart city technologies to small rural communities.

3A. Develop an education and communications plan to tell the positive story of Scotland’s rural economy to attract young people and new businesses, 3B. Engage and influence media channels to develop positive rural messages, reflecting the diversity of the rural economy. provides a platform for any village to set up their own digital community, and the central site acts as a knowledge base for rural innovation best practices. We will promote these online and engage with communities to help with their implementation.

6B. Promote rural areas as centres of excellence for ‘non-traditional’ rural sectors such as advanced manufacturing, digital technologies, and e-commerce, as part of a wider Economic Strategy; 6C. Encourage future entrepreneurship by ensuring the Scottish Government’s rural skills action plan meets the needs of the rural economy. is an advanced Cloud platform that comes equipped with many powerful capabilities for rural small businesses, such as enabling an Artisan E-Commerce Marketplace.

Local artisans and retailers will be supported in moving their business online and selling products to a global market, as part of an overall program of encouraging more local entrepreneurship, economy building and creating new jobs.

7B. Create communities of interest (hubs, digital and/or physical) where collaborative and cooperative endeavours can be encouraged and supported by government agencies. These should be used to incubate and promote new start-ups.

8C. Create communities of interest, both digital and physical,where businesses and people can come together to solve problems, share ideas and understand opportunities. Create business hubs and incubators and promote opportunities to work remotely; 8D. Develop opportunities for the businesses of urban and rural Scotland to share ideas and work together.

Digital community building will be complimented by key activities such as helping to develop local Co-Working Centres, and running activities such as business networking events to encourage more collaboration between local entrepreneurs and business people.

5B. Better use of support mechanisms for local leadership, such as community plans, collaborative working, collective purchasing and supporting community access to funding.

4B. Ensure equitable access to finance for rural communities and businesses, including a simplified grants system.

The overall goal of each SmartVillage site is to encourage and enable more Digital Participation, including key activities such as community planning via Participatory Budgeting.

These activities will encompass a knowledge base and application process for scenarios such as small business startup grants.


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