[holding answer 20 November 2006]: There are no plans to establish permanent interview offices on these islands due to the low level of demand—estimated at nine applicants per year in total. We plan to provide a video link-based service for such remote communities, but this must still be delivered from a limited number of sites to be cost-effective.
An initial analysis has been undertaken to identify the most appropriate locations for remote interview sites throughout the UK, taking account of the cost to implement the solution and the number of first-time adult applicants anticipated for each area.
This computer modelling initially identified Tobermory as the most appropriate location for residents on Coll and Tiree (as well as the Isle of Mull). Bowmore has been initially identified as the most appropriate location for residents on Jura and Colonsay (as well as Islay). However, we anticipate that some of these applicants would choose instead to attend their interview at the Oban or other mainland office in line with visits to the mainland for business or social purposes.
A request was sent out via the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities representative at the Scottish Executive in October to all the relevant local councils, asking for their help in confirming whether the initial locations identified were the most appropriate. We are still awaiting a reply from Argyll and Bute council with their recommendation as to the best locations for our remote interview service within their area.
We will be taking their advice and recommendations into account, and will be working closely with them to implement this service.