Place Standard: corporate working in Shetland

A photograph of the coastline in Lerwick, Shetland, with the hills covered in snow
Published: 24/11/2016

Testing the Place Standard in rural and small settlements

Architecture and Design Scotland, together with our Place Standard partners, has been working closely with Shetland Islands council over the past two years, since the formative piloting stage of the Place Standard. This work has helped ensure that the language and content of the Place Standard works for rural communities and small settlements as well as for larger, better-connected urban contexts.

The council has demonstrated the capacity for the tool to be used by some very different types of groups. Shetland were one of the first councils to use the tool at an executive influence workshop in July 2015 and this demonstrated the capacity of the tool to facilitate corporate working by senior officers.

More recently the council used the tool to survey all seven Shetland Island localities as a means of better engaging local people in policy-making. This single survey was managed jointly across council departments and has gathered over 900 responses. Results are expected to be published shortly.

“The tool has allowed departments to work together to avoid consultation fatigue.”

Lead officer


  • Demonstrated the capacity of the tool to facilitate corporate working by senior officers
  • The survey gave a voice for communities in strategic policy consultation work whilst avoiding consultation fatigue
  • The web-based format of the community survey helped involve a dispersed population
  • The survey provided a more efficient single cross-service consultation methodology
  • Community inputs – via the survey – are having a strong influence in emerging policy across council services; informing action in: – Transport Planning – Locality Planning – Housing – Economic Development – Education – Local Outcome Improvement Plans and budget setting
  • The evidence and outputs of the process have been well received by communities at Community Forums, providing the council with a basis for constructive dialogue and the input of valued ideas

Headline image: Ella Peebles on Unsplash.