Tag: community engagement

Scottish Land Commission seeks community views

The Scottish Land Commission has launched a new survey seeking views of communities across Scotland about community engagement in decisions relating to land.

The Commission wants to make sure that all people in Scotland have the opportunity to be involved in decisions about land that significantly affect them.  The Commission is supporting communities, land owners and land managers to work together to make better – and fairer – decisions about land use with the publication of its first Protocol on Community Engagement in Decisions Relating to Land.

The Commission’s Protocol supports the Guidance on engaging communities in decisions relating to land, which was published by the Scottish Government in April last year.  Over the next couple of years, the Commission will review the effectiveness of the guidance, and recommend improvements if needed. The survey will establish a baseline against which progress can be measured and identify where further support needs to be developed by the Commission or other organisations.

Individual residents and community organisations in both urban and rural Scotland are being asked to complete the survey. The Commission hopes to:

  • learn more about how the way land or buildings are managed impacts communities
  • know what opportunities people have to influence decisions made when land use changes
  • hear what type of support is needed to make engagement more effective.

Clear and open communication is increasingly a key part of public life, with organisations creating mechanisms for ordinary people to be involved in decisions that affect them. A key area where people want to have their say is about local land use and management.

Helen Barton, Community Engagement Advisor at the Scottish Land Commission said:

“We want to hear from communities in both urban and rural Scotland, to find out what level of community engagement is taking place around decisions related to land.

Individuals can respond but also anyone who is involved with community organisations such a community councils, tenants’ or residents’ groups or local government.

“The information provided will not include any personal identifying information and we will collate and analyse the responses to see where there are trends.

“It is important to get an idea of what community engagement is happening now to not only use as a baseline measure but also to see if there are any lessons we can learn from current practices.”

In the survey, the Commission will also be looking to find out how many respondents are aware of the Scottish Government’s guidance as well as the Commission’s own Protocol for Community Engagement, which sets out general and specific expectations for owners and managers of land.

The survey will be open for responses until the end of September 2019 and can be found here: www.landcommission.gov.scot/communityengagement  

Scottish Land Commission champions engagement process for successful land management

A new Protocol and toolkit that sets out practical advice on how landowners, land managers and communities can work together to make better – and fairer – decisions about land use is launched today by the Scottish Land Commission.

The Protocol supports the Guidance on Engaging Communities in decisions relating to land, which was published by the Scottish Government in April last year.  It is the first in a series of Protocols that the Land Commission will produce to encourage practical implementation of the principles within the Scottish Government’s Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement (LRRS).

The first Land Rights and Responsibilities Protocol focuses particularly on Principle 6: “There should be greater collaboration and community engagement in decisions about land”.

The Protocol highlights the benefits for all parties: genuine engagement is good for land owners because it can reduce potential conflict, help make businesses more resilient and promote innovation. Meanwhile communities will be better informed and people will have a better opportunity to engage, understand and influence potential change and opportunities.

The Commission has produced a toolkit to support land owners in engaging with communities to accompany the Protocol including a ‘decision map’ detailing engagement methods and what is expected of land owners and managers in different situations and a guide to engagement plans to support the community engagement process.

Scottish Land Commissioner, Sally Reynolds explained that the Protocol defines standard good practice for engagement over land use and management.

“Early and open engagement by those who own or manage land with the local community should be part of normal business practice.  Everyone benefits from knowing about decisions that might affect them and by working together and engaging in a process, it is easier to make progress.

“We have devised the Protocol and the toolkit to clearly show the practical approach to engagement expected when changes to land use are being explored.

“We believe it will promote an open approach to decision making, all of which is a vital part of increasing the accountability of land ownership and making the most of opportunities.”

One initiative that illustrates good practice in terms of the principles of community engagement is the East Neuk Community Action Plan (ENCAP) Steering Group in Fife, which has successfully brought together landowners, community groups and others in to community-led planning. Partners include the East Neuk Estates Group which forged strong relationships with community groups, responded to the priorities they identified and integrated these into their own estate and land-use plans.

The Land Commission will produce a series of Protocols on different subjects by working closely with stakeholders representing a range of interests.

Sally Reynolds said, “The Protocols will be short, clear, practical and fair to all parties, setting out clear expectations of what ought to happen in normal circumstances.”