A refreshed approach
Whilst widely acknowledged as having achieved a great deal, the original Strategic Framework, its Action Plan review process and the structure of the MWGA were subject to criticisms. Consultation responses clearly indicated that the MWGA should be refocused and take a leadership role in reviewing progress and reprioritising actions. Champions should drive progress on issues under each theme and report to the Minister.
This renewed Strategic Framework will therefore adopt an approach in which the Ministerial Group on Aquaculture drives progress on the priorities and outcomes contained in this document, rather than simply being a body which reviews and tracks progress. It will also generate a flexible list of priority actions that remain current, are regularly reviewed and reprioritised as appropriate. Work-streams will flow through the five identified key themes and be directed by the Group.
The Group will be guided by this overarching framework document and will identify the immediate priorities and agree actions within each theme. Each theme will have a "champion" who sits on the main group and will have responsibility for ensuring that agreed actions within their theme are being progressed. These will include sub-groups, and possibly the use of task-specific workshops which co-opt specialists/experts and stakeholders with relevant interests. Existing stakeholder groups such as the Aquaculture Health Joint Working Group will be drawn into this new structure. A new shellfish group will advise on specific issues not addressed by these sub-groups.
A refocused Ministerial Group on Aquaculture ( MGA)
The refocused group will be established in summer 2009 following the launch of this renewed Strategic Framework. At the meeting, new terms of reference, champions and the first 6-month action plans will be agreed. The group will have the following characteristics and function:
- A Purpose of driving forward Sustainable Economic Growth of Scottish Aquaculture.
- A group which is smaller and more focused than previously to make better use of expertise, skills and time.
- A champion for each theme with responsibility to manage and facilitate the key actions identified under that theme and to deliver and report back to the core Group.
- All key stakeholder interests will be involved, as appropriate, either on the Ministerial group or through focused subgroups and workstreams or the National Aquaculture Forum.
- The refocused Group would meet biannually to review, revise and agree action plans.
- There will be scope to review, add and change membership as appropriate.
- Marine Scotland will be responsible to ensure this links into wider policy themes, e.g. food & drink, Scottish Marine Bill, climate change and EU aquaculture strategy.
Reporting Progress and Review
- Champions will report back to the new management Group on progress at every meeting. This may include specialist/expert feed back to the group on a specific issue as necessary.
- Following progress reporting, the Group will consider current and emerging issues before agreeing an updated plan of actions within each theme.
- Action plans will be reviewed against this document to ensure they are delivering the desired outcomes agreed and re-evaluated and refocused as and when necessary.
- An update on progress and any newly agreed priorities will also be published on the Scottish Government website after each meeting and issued to stakeholders.
A National Aquaculture Forum
The consultation suggested " a wider Aquaculture Forum". The Forum will have the following features:
- Wide-ranging membership.
- Chaired by Marine Scotland.
- It will feed into framework theme action plans and receive feedback on progress from the new Ministerial Group.
- It will be tasked with specific pieces of work to inform themes or specific issues. Members/Forum representatives could be co-opted onto task specific groups as appropriate.
- It will act as a sounding board for new policy initiatives and provide opportunities to inform policy and respond to wider, relevant Scottish Government consultations.
- It will generate key questions for the MGA to be dealt with through the relevant sub-group.
- It will allow for stakeholder input to ensure that the actions remain relevant and accommodate new issues of concern which may arise or when there is a lack of progress.