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HIE's Biggest Public Consultation Exercise Nears Completion

4th March 2005

A huge public consultation exercise to help determine the future activities of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is drawing to a close.

Since January the economic and community development agency has been seeking the views of its staff, stakeholders, partner organisations, businesses, communities and individuals as part of the process of identifying its strategic priorities for the coming years.

Market and public opinion research agency MORI, which was commissioned by HIE to conduct the consultation, is close to its target of obtaining the views of nearly 2,000 residents, 1,200 businesses and 100 community and voluntary organisations.

Through the 'Speak Up and Have Your Say!' newspaper and radio advertising campaign, people have been encouraged to use HIE's website to take part in the exercise.

More than 150 responses have been received through the website. Anyone still wishing to contribute can fill in a short confidential questionnaire, take part in an online discussion forum, or email the agency by visiting www.hie.co.uk/consultation.html until Friday, 18th March.

The consultation is part of a detailed review by HIE of how, in an area with challenges and opportunities highly distinct from other parts of Scotland, it can best help deliver national economic priorities and pursue its unique community development role.

A refreshed version of 'A Smart, Successful Scotland', the Scottish Executive's strategic direction to the country's two enterprise networks (HIE and Scottish Enterprise) and enterprise strategy for Scotland as a whole, was launched last November. Following its strategy review, HIE will, in June, launch a refreshed version of 'A Smart, Successful Scotland - the Highlands and Islands Dimension', setting out the agency's priorities for the coming years.

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