Planning - Compulsory Purchase Reform Scotland Practitioner Advisory Group: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Compulsory Purchase Reform Scotland Practitioner Advisory Group.


The Scottish Government has committed to reform and modernise compulsory purchase in Scotland, with the overall aim of making the system more streamlined, more effective and fairer for all.

The 2023-24 Programme for Government indicated that an expert group would be appointed to help inform the development of reform proposals. Doing so was also identified as an action in the National Planning Framework 4 Delivery Programme.

Role and remit

The overarching role of the Advisory Group is to support the Scottish Government’s reform programme by providing feedback, advice and insights drawn from members’ practical knowledge and experience of compulsory purchase and compensation.

Key elements of the role include:

  • identifying key issues facing acquiring authorities, claimants and compulsory purchase practitioners – including current barriers to effective practice – and possible solutions
  • providing views on those parts of the current legislative framework that require retention, revision or revocation
  • offering feedback on the likely practical effect of emerging reform ideas, options and proposals, including possible unintended consequences
  • carrying out discrete tasks that help to build the reform programme’s underpinning evidence base
  • identifying and acting as a conduit to wider stakeholder views and expertise where necessary

The Advisory Group is not expected to make formal recommendations to the Scottish Government; rather it is intended to act as a source of practical expertise and as a sounding board for emerging reform proposals. In doing so it will help support the development of a reform package that is robust and evidence based.

Compulsory purchase policy and decisions regarding future policy direction are the responsibility of the Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Government’s Planning, Architecture and Regeneration Division (PARD). Transport Scotland’s representation on the Advisory Group will be in its capacity as a practitioner and promoter of compulsory purchase projects; it will not represent the views of Scottish Ministers as a decision taker on compulsory purchase orders.

Reflecting the expertise of the Group’s membership, its focus is compulsory purchase reform. Detailed consideration of alternative approaches to land assembly, such as Compulsory Sales Orders, is not included within the group’s remit. The Group may, however, be asked to consider whether and how compulsory purchase reform could achieve the outcomes and suggested benefits of such alternative mechanisms.


The list of members is on the group page. Membership of the Advisory Group will be on a personal basis: views expressed by members will not be taken as being representative of their employer. Where necessary, members may nominate a substitute to attend a particular meeting with the prior agreement of the Chair.

Members of the Advisory Group must have first-hand, practical experience of the compulsory purchase regime in Scotland. The overall membership of the Advisory Group is intended to bring together the key professional disciplines involved in compulsory purchase, as well as experience of representing both acquiring authority and claimant interests.

The Advisory Group will be co-chaired by the Chief Planner (Fiona Simpson) and Roseanna Cunningham.


The initial meeting of the Advisory Group took place on 27 March 2024. It is envisaged that initially the group will meet every two months. However, the frequency of meetings will be kept under review and may be increased as the reform process moves forward.

Secretariat will be provided by the Scottish Government PARD. It will arrange meeting dates and venues (including Microsoft Teams), provide an agenda, papers for discussion and minutes for each meeting.

Where possible, papers will be distributed at least three days in advance of each meeting and the minutes will be circulated following each meeting for agreement by members. Apologies should be submitted to the Secretariat in advance of the meeting.

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