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Terms of reference

How we will work to enable inclusive and sustainable economic growth

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Our Purpose

The Highlands and Islands Regional Economic Partnership’s purpose is to enable inclusive and sustainable economic growth and build resilience throughout the region. It does this by identifying and focussing on areas of joint strategic purpose to provide co-ordinated action in pursuit of regional growth opportunities and to address shared challenges.

Our remit

The Partnership will fulfil its purpose by:

  • Identifying opportunities for collaborative and co-ordinated action of agreed regional priorities, ensuring, where appropriate, stakeholder plans are aligned, and resources are deployed efficiently and effectively.
  • Advocating on agreed regional economic opportunities and challenges, and where appropriate, leading in discussions with Scottish Government, UK Government and other organisations.
  • Being future focused, looking ahead to identify emerging regional opportunities and challenges where collaborative action can maximise outcomes and impact.
  • Working to understand evolving approaches to external funding and reacting to maximise impact across all parts of the region.
  • Understanding sub-regional economic dynamics and, where appropriate, formulating solidarity actions to ensure that no part of the Highlands and Islands is left behind.

Relationship with the Convention of the Highlands and Islands and Growth Deal Partnerships

The Highlands and Islands Regional Economic Partnership (REP)is distinct from the Convention of the Highlands and Islands (COHI). It's led by regional stakeholders and has a remit that extends across policy development and delivery oversight.

The Partnership will seek to inform and contribute to the Convention of the Highlands and Islands agenda.

Where appropriate, the Highlands and Islands REP will complement and add value to the work of existing Local Authority area groupings by enabling a co-ordinated approach across shared opportunities and challenges. And, if appropriate, it will facilitate activity across Local Authority boundaries.


Membership of the Highlands and Islands REP includes:

  • Highlands and Islands Local Authorities
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • Scottish Funding Council
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
  • NatureScot
  • Crown Estate Scotland
  • VisitScotland
  • Bord na Gaidhlig
  • three private sector representatives (one representative body and two businesses)
  • two social enterprise/third sector representatives (representative bodies)
  • one Housing sector representative

In addition, Scottish Government is invited to attend REP meetings as an observer.

Working Principles

Operation and governance may be further developed as the Highlands and Islands Regional Economic Partnership becomes established and operational. It's envisaged that:

  • Highlands and Islands REP meetings will be held quarterly throughout the year, two of which will be co-ordinated with COHI meetings. 
  • The Partnership may meet more frequently if required.
  • Chairing of meetings will rotate every two years between Local Authority members.
  • Representation from member organisations is to be decided by individual member organisations. The expectation is that attendance will be at senior level with an organisation’s Leader/Chair, and include support from the Chief Executive (or other senior officer).
  • A Secretariat is established, employed by HIE and jointly funded by HIE, local authorities and SDS. The Secretariat will co-ordinate REP work and meetings.