Environment and Land Reform: relations between non-governmental organisations and community groups

The report examines relations between non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community groups in the light of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 and the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016.


A networked approach, whereby local assets and local knowledge is augmented by external assets and resources, is likely to be the most effective way to bridge the gap in resources and expertise when land is transferred to community groups.

Creating place-based plans and developing community projects, that are created by and for the local community, are more likely to encourage sustained community buy in and engagement with the project, helping to ensure long-term viability.

NGOs should engage in 'bottom up' communication as opposed to 'top down'. Efforts should be made to engage the community as opposed to informing them of plans. This is particularly relevant in the context of designing public consultations.

NGO senior staff should make efforts to visit the sites, meet with community groups and to understand local dynamics. This will help to bridge the gap between local and senior staff, and address engrained working patterns and practices that hinder collaboration with community groups.

Scottish Land Commission is currently finalising a Code of Practice. Therefore, there is a momentum to formalise and systematise community engagement from both within and beyond. Once the engagement guideline is published, it will be important to put mechanisms in place to hold organisations accountable to the new requirements.


Email: Neil Davidson

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