We previously advised of the launch of the Scottish Land Commission's Protocol on Community Engagement in Decisions Relating to Land, supporting the Guidance issued by the Scottish Government in April last year aimed at ensuring engagement between landowners, land managers and communities in decisions relating to land which are likely to impact a community (also discussed by us, here).

As part of its work, the Scottish Land Commission (SLC) is now undertaking a survey, seeking to find out how community engagement is currently undertaken in Scotland, and how many respondents are aware of the Guidance and the Protocol. This will provide a snapshot of the current position against which progress can be measured and will identify where further support may be required, whether such support comes from SLC or other relevant bodies.

Helen Barton, Community Engagement Advisor at SLC explains:

"We want to hear from anyone with control over the way land is used or managed in both urban and rural Scotland. The survey is relevant for all private and public sector owners of land and buildings, including individuals, companies, charities and trusts, non-governmental organisations and community owners. It is also relevant to tenants of any sort who have control over land."

Respondent Information

The survey requests open and honest answers to the questions posed, so as to best inform future work. With a view to the provision of such answers, no personal identifying information is required and assurances are given that information given cannot be traced back to an individual, so those potentially interested in responding should not be put off for fear of having the "wrong" experience or view.

The survey does request a description of the respondent's organisation (examples provided include: land manager or other land professional; charitable landowner; farmer owner; tenant farmer) and the area of Scotland your main experience relates to (given by Council area), as well as the type of community your experience relates to (examples being large or small urban, accessible or remote rural, and large or small island). This information is designed to enable SLC to establish if there are trends by area or sector.

Survey Content

The survey is split into a number of sections, the first capturing information about landowners' experiences to date of engaging with local communities and the challenges that this poses (asking, e.g. if respondents know who relevant community organisations are and how to contact them, if there are considered any barriers to engaging, and whether the respondent is aware of community aspirations). The second section seeks views as to how confident respondents are with engagement activities at present, what they find difficult, and suggestions as to how they might be supported in engaging with the local community. Finally, the third content section contains questions designed to ascertain the current level of awareness of the published guidance.

The survey will be open for responses until the end of May 2019 and can be found here.