Publication - Consultation paper

Forestry and Land Scotland draft corporate plan 2022 - 2025: consultation

Published: 11 Oct 2021

Forestry and Land Scotland has developed a draft corporate plan which sets out the proposed direction of travel and priorities for the organisation for the next three years. The consultation seeks the views of all who have an interest in the national forests and land.

Forestry and Land Scotland draft corporate plan 2022 - 2025: consultation
6. Our Corporate Outcomes

6. Our Corporate Outcomes

Forestry and Land Scotland has developed five Corporate Outcomes which will guide all of our work over the next three years, each of which sets out a position statement of where we want to be by 2025. All of the outcomes are interdependent and support the delivery of our priorities, vision and mission, and ultimately the Scottish Government’s outcomes and purpose.

SG National Performance Framework: FLS Mission and Vision; Corporate Outcomes: 1 supporting a sustainable economy, 2 Looking after Scotland’s national forest and land, 3 national forests and land for visitors and communities, 4 A supportive safe and inclusive organisation, 5 A high performing organisation;

The following section sets out details of each of the Corporate Outcomes, related strategies and links to Scotland’s National Outcomes and the Sustainable Development Goals. Information on our priorities and actions for delivery are also set out under each Corporate Outcome to ensure that we continue to embed an outcomes-based approach to our work.

Outcome 1: Supporting a Sustainable Economy

FLS supports a sustainable economy by managing the national forests and land in a way that encourages sustainable business growth, development opportunities, jobs and investments.

Forestry Strategy Priorities for Action:

  • Improving efficiency and productivity and developing markets
  • Engaging more people, communities and businesses in the creation, management and use of forests and woodland.

Other Key National Strategies and Documents

  • National Strategy for Economic Transformation
  • Fourth National Planning Framework: Position Statement
  • Climate Ready Scotland: climate change adaptation programme 2019-2024
  • Energy Strategy: Position Statement (2021)
  • Scotland Outlook 2030: Responsible Tourism for a Sustainable Future
  • Blue Economy Action Plan (in development)

Scotland’s National Outcomes:

  • We have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy
  • We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 07: Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 08: Decent work and economic growth
  • SDG 09: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

The timber industry is vital to the Scottish economy. Forestry and timber processing accounts for £285 million of Gross Value Added (GVA) every year. It also provides more than 30,000 jobs across the wood production, forest management, haulage and processing sectors. Timber from Scotland’s national forests is used for house building, fencing, paper and bio-fuel.

FLS is a major supplier to the wood-panel, pulp, paper and saw-milling industries, as well as the emerging wood-energy markets. However, over one third of our production is sold on the open market. We are proud to contribute to the continuing success of forestry in Scotland. Work on our national forests and land contributes £1 million to the Scottish economy each day supporting 11,000 jobs.

FLS will continue to contribute to developing the wider Scottish economy, by providing sustainable economic benefits from the national forests and land. These include:

  • Sustainable timber and fibre production;
  • An increase in stocks of natural capital (i.e. the extent and condition of natural resources);
  • The generation of energy through the facilitation of renewable energy schemes;
  • The provision for recreational facilities and tourism; and
  • Sustainable estate management, development and improvement.

Improving efficiency and productivity, and developing sustainable markets, are priorities for action within Scotland’s Forestry Strategy and relate to our Economy Outcome and delivery of best value. We will help deliver on these priorities by:

  • Ensuring wood fibre availability from the national forests is predictable; and
  • Supporting efforts to enable the sustainable transport of timber.

Our key priority over the next three years in the delivery of this Corporate Outcome is as follows:

  • Increasing commercial opportunities for the long term benefit of the national forests and land.

This means we will continue to look at ways where we can grow our income and generate surplus for reinvestment, be that timber, renewables, leasing land and other developing more commercial services in relation to our visitor and tourism offer. However, this will only be taken forward where we can also deliver on our responsibilities and reinvest in the national forests and land for the people of Scotland.

Actions we will deliver under the ‘’Supporting a Sustainable Economy” Corporate Outcome over the period 2022-2025 include:

  • Investing in the long term productivity and resilience of timber and fibre production from the national forests and land.
  • Developing our forest planning processes to ensure long-term sustainable productivity of the national forests and land.
  • Bringing a sustainable supply of timber to market through the Timber Marketing Framework.
  • Continuing the implementation of the new plant and seed supply strategy.
  • Looking to reduce restocking costs as we implement the Restocking Strategy.
  • Increasing investment in supporting infrastructure by implementing a new long term Civil Engineering and Timber Access Strategy.
  • Applying an asset management approach to civil engineering infrastructure to ensure assets meet current and future business needs, taking account of likely climate changes.
  • Supporting Scottish tourism and the visitor economy through the provision for visitor attractions and quality recreation sites.
  • Enabling organised events and opportunities that support the national and/or local economy and deliver a positive financial return to reinvest in the national forests and land.
  • Creating opportunities for income generation through woodland carbon code projects and other streams.
  • Delivering an increased contribution towards the Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets.
  • Bringing opportunities for further renewable energy projects to the market and helping to facilitate the development of projects which achieved planning consent.
  • Implementing the new Acquisition & Disposal Strategy.
  • Implementing a full Asset Management approach to the FLS property portfolio.
  • Marketing venison to offset some of the high costs of deer management.
  • Working to release value from rural development opportunities for reinvestment in the national forests and land e.g. rural housing.
  • Continuing to operate mineral leases, providing important minerals to the industry such as Barytes and silica sand.
  • Working proactively with our tenants and stakeholders to identify potential added-value opportunities.
  • Continuing to work with Registers of Scotland to ensure the extent of the national forests and land are properly registered in the Land Register.
  • Engaging commercially with network operators to facilitate the delivery of priority power grid infrastructure and digital and mobile connectivity projects.

Outcome 2: Looking after Scotland’s national forests and land

Scotland’s national forests and land are looked after, resilient to climate change and their biodiversity is protected and enhanced.

Forestry Strategy Priorities for Action:

  • Ensuring forests and woodland are sustainably managed
  • Expanding the area of forests and woodland, recognising wider land use objectives
  • Increasing the adaptability and resilience of forests and woodland
  • Enhancing the environmental benefits provided by forests and woodland

Other Key National Strategies and Documents:

  • Land use - getting the best from our land: strategy 2021 to 2026
  • Strategy for Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Research 2022-2027
  • Climate Ready Scotland: climate change adaptation programme 2019-2024
  • Scottish Biodiversity Strategy (and post 2020 Statement of Intent)
  • National Transport Strategy: Protecting our Climate and Improving Lives (2020)
  • Our Place In Time: The Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland 2014-2024

Scotland’s National Outcomes:

  • We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment
  • We are healthy and active

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 03: Good health and wellbeing
  • SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 15: Life on land

Our environment underpins everything we do; we could not deliver community and economic outcomes without a healthy environment. The scale and diversity of Scotland’s national forests and land allows us to manage whole landscapes; restoring, enhancing and linking habitats. We look after a range of native habitats such as lowland raised bog and Scots Pine woodlands which are home to some rare and threatened species like wildcats, water voles, great crested newts, pine hoverflies and juniper. We also look after significant historic assets including Neolithic ceremonial rock art at Ormaig in Argyll and the Iron Age Castle O’er Hill Fort in Dumfries and Galloway.

We take an ecosystem approach to the stewardship of Scotland’s national forests and land, sustaining the benefits provided by our environment, while also supporting the delivery of our economic and community objectives. However, the Climate Emergency and the requirement for economic growth are resulting in increasing demands and pressures on the natural world – here in Scotland as well as globally. As a consequence, we need to take particular care to increase the resilience of the national forests and land, while protecting and enhancing natural assets so that they can continue to provide their many benefits for us.

FLS can make a particular contribution in this area by continuing to safeguard places, both large and small within the national forests and land; undertaking land management in a way that benefits people and communities; enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem services through landscape-scale management; contributing to the Scottish Government’s climate change targets; and complementing and balancing the forestry and land management being undertaken by other land managers. Please see the section on ‘Responding to the Climate Emergency’ to learn more about our work in this area.

Scotland’s Forestry Strategy has the principles of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) at its core. All of the Priorities for Action set out in the Forestry Strategy have some bearing on this Corporate Outcome, however the following have particular relevance:

  • Ensuring forests and woodland are sustainably managed
  • Increasing the adaptability and resilience of forests and woodland
  • Expanding the area of forests and woodland, recognising wider land-use objectives
  • Enhancing the environmental benefits provided by forests and woodland

Under this Corporate Outcome FLS can also directly assist in meeting Scottish Government forest and woodland creation targets[1]. We can also assist in delivering on targets relating to native woodlands[2] including increasing, creation and restoring targets. Scotland’s rich and diverse forests and woodland are important natural assets and their continuing health and improvement is vital to sustainable economic growth, not least because of their role in protecting, maintaining and enhancing natural capital and providing a range of ecosystems services.

Independent Certification of Sustainable Forest Management

The UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS) is the independent certification standard and audit protocol for verifying sustainable woodland management in Scotland and the rest of the UK. UKWAS combines the government requirements set out in the UK Forestry Standard with those of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the two independent internationally recognised voluntary certification schemes operating in the UK.

Our forests are managed to these standards and requirements meaning that the timber we sell can be badged with these internationally recognised marks of sustainability.

All of our forest management is carried out to the standards and requirements of the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) – the UK’s reference standard for managing forests sustainably.

Our key priorities over the next three years in the delivery of the “Looking after…” Corporate Outcome are as follows:

  • Tackling the Climate Emergency: Woodland creation and restocking; Peatland Restoration: and restoring vacant and derelict land. (See the section on ‘Responding to the Climate Emergency’ for more about our work in this area.)
  • Protecting our forests from new and existing threats: Tackling tree disease and pests; carefully managing deer numbers to non-damaging levels; and removing invasive non-native species such as Rhododendron ponticum.
  • Responding to the Biodiversity Challenge: Increasing plantation on ancient woodland restoration sites (PAWS); increasing natural habitats and increasing minimum intervention/natural reserves.

Actions we will deliver under this Corporate Outcome over the period 2022-2025 include:

  • Helping the Scottish Government to meet forest and woodland creation targets.
  • Implementing a programme to improve the resilience of the national forests and land to the impacts of climate change and tree health threats.
  • Analysing the cumulative impacts of current commitments, plans and strategies and likely future scenarios (e.g. climate change) on our approach to managing the national forests and land.
  • Continuing to implement the FLS Deer Management strategy while working in partnership with others to support the Scottish Government’s response to the Independent Panel’s recommendations on deer management in Scotland.
  • Working in partnership to restore vacant and derelict land for woodland planting and wider beneficial use.
  • Managing the national forests and land to further the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity.
  • Increasing our contribution to the Peatland Action programme.
  • Collaborating with partners on integrated landscape-scale approaches to habitat management and restoration.
  • Increasing ancient woodland restoration.
  • Taking targeted action for vulnerable priority species (e.g. red squirrel, capercaillie, and black grouse).
  • Supporting policy development and research, and acting as a testbed for new and innovative approaches to forestry and land management.
  • Implementing the asset management approach to the historic environment within Scotland’s forests and land.
  • Working with neighbouring land managers to undertake landscape-scale control of Rhododendron ponticum to conserve ground flora and improve habitats.
  • Continuing to implement the Larch Strategy in order to reduce the rate of expansion of Phytophthora ramorum.[3]
  • Continuing to respond to and pre-empt Statutory Plant Health Notices by taking action to monitor, contain and slowdown outbreaks of pests/diseases.
  • Maintaining healthy forests by applying biosecurity procedures and monitoring tree and plant health.

Outcome 3: National forests and land for visitors and communities

Everyone can visit and enjoy Scotland’s national forests and land to connect with nature, have fun, benefit their health and wellbeing and have the opportunity to engage in our community decision making.

Forestry Strategy Priorities for Action:

  • Engaging more people, communities and businesses in the creation, management and use of forests and woodland.

Other Key National Strategies and Documents:

  • Scotland Outlook 2030: Responsible Tourism for a Sustainable Future
  • Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group National Action Plan (2021)
  • Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming: Report 2021
  • Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement
  • National Standards for Community Engagement
  • A More Active Scotland: Scotland’s Physical Activity Delivery Plan (2018)
  • A Culture Strategy for Scotland (2020)

Scotland’s National Outcomes:

  • We are healthy and active
  • We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe
  • We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 03: Good health and wellbeing
  • SDG 04: Quality education
  • SDG 05: Gender equality
  • SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
  • SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities

As the single largest provider of outdoor recreation in Scotland, FLS manages some of the best places to visit in the country, with over 300 destinations including six Forest Parks, mountains, riversides, lochs, waterfalls, beaches and 750 miles of waymarked trails. We look after iconic views, from Queen’s View in Perthshire to Glen Affric in the west Highlands and host and manage adventure sports, from tree-top experiences, to our 7stanes mountain biking centres.

We also maintain lots of urban woodlands, including Cuningar Loop Woodland Park in the heart of Glasgow, meaning that many communities and visitors are never far away from a gentle stroll or woodland adventure.

The national forests and land also play a key part in Scotland’s ‘natural health service’, providing spaces where people of all ages can spend time enhancing their physical and mental health through play, exploration and relaxation. Visits to both urban greenspace and our more rural visitor sites soared during the COVID-19 global pandemic. This demonstrated the importance and value that people place on being able to visit their local forests, woodlands and green open spaces.

The national forests and land host around ten million visits each year. We work within the context of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code to promote responsible access and care for the environment. We are striving to make forest and visitor experiences more accessible to everyone by removing barriers to access where this will have the greatest impact. Our work such as enabling school visits, events and engagement with local groups encourages people from all backgrounds and communities to enjoy and benefit from the national forests and land.

FLS manages the national forests and land in an inclusive and open way, involving communities in our decisions, strengthening the connection with the people of Scotland and ensuring we all make best use of the land.

As Scotland’s largest land manager we are in a unique position with regard to the Scottish Government’s land reform commitments. We have a particular role in encouraging local communities to consider opportunities to own, lease or use land. We work actively with communities that want to get more involved in their local forest or woodland. There are a wide range of options and models for greater involvement, from consultation and partnership, through to community-led projects. Communities also have the right under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 to use or buy land through our Community Asset Transfer Scheme.

Under this Corporate Outcome, FLS can help deliver on the following Priority for Action as set out in the Forestry Strategy:

  • Engaging more people, communities and businesses in the creation, management and use of forests and woodland.

This includes helping to ensure that more people benefit directly or indirectly from the national forests and land by focussing on supporting more people to use their local forests and woodland for recreation, play and education; and encouraging more communities to participate in their management for the benefit of their local areas. This also ties in with our Corporate Outcome on the economy.

FLS will take steps to remove barriers to and actively encourage broader participation with the national forests and land, so that all communities can benefit including those who are care experienced, from protected characteristic groups, and/or from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

Our key priorities over the next three years in the delivery of this Corporate Outcome are as follows:

  • Adapting to changing visitor and tourism requirements: Rationalising, investing and improving our visitor and recreation facilities.
  • Increasing opportunities for communities to benefit from the national forests and land: Ensuring that more people benefit directly or indirectly from the national forests and land.

Actions we will deliver under this Corporate Outcome over the period 2022-2025 include:

  • Developing and implementing a new Communities Strategy.
  • Implementing the Visitor Services Strategy.
  • Developing a strategic approach to wider participation in the management of the national forests and land.
  • Removing barriers to and actively encouraging broader participation with and visits to the national forests and land by people who are care experienced, of low socioeconomic status and/or from protected characteristic groups.
  • Maintaining safe walking and biking trails and improving entry level experiences for everyone to enjoy and gain health benefits.
  • Enabling outdoor learning and encouraging educational and community groups to make use of the national forests and land.
  • Facilitating renewable energy opportunities in order to encourage community benefits/wealth building.
  • Engaging with communities to identify benefits and in decision making relating to the management of the national forests and land.
  • Empower communities to make innovative use of the national forests and land including for social and economic recovery and to explore potential for climate change adaptation activities.
  • Working with partners to support the development of improved and expanded active travel infrastructure and services.

Outcome 4: A Supportive, Safe and Inclusive Organisation

Forestry and Land Scotland is a supportive, safe and inclusive organisation that provides exciting careers, professional development and strives to be an employer of choice.

Forestry Strategy Priorities for Action:

  • Engaging more people, communities and businesses in the creation, management and use of forests and woodland.
  • Improving efficiency and productivity and developing markets.

Other Key National Strategies and Documents:

  • Scottish Government People Strategy
  • Forestry Industry Safety Accord (FISA)
  • Fair Work Convention
  • Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming: Report 2021 (Scottish Government)

Scotland’s National Outcomes:

  • We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society.
  • We have thriving and innovative businesses with quality jobs and fair work for everyone.

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 03: Good health and wellbeing
  • SDG 04: Quality education
  • SDG 05: Gender equality
  • SDG 08: Decent work and economic growth
  • SDG 10: Reduced inequalities

We are extremely fortunate to have a proud and committed workforce, so it is vital that we ensure that our workplaces are supportive, safe and inclusive. We have a wide range of occupations across FLS including:

Administrators, archaeologists, bridge engineers, civil engineers, community and education rangers, community and rural development coordinators, data specialists, ecologists, environment and heritage managers, foresters, forestry machine operators, graphic designers, human resource specialists, IT specialists, landscape architects, marketing managers, media specialists, programme and project specialists, surveyors, tree nursery operatives, visitor assistants, wildlife rangers and lots more...

We recognise the importance of developing our workforce to ensure their knowledge and skills continue to develop and provide rich and exciting careers.

Our People Strategy sets out the steps we are taking to develop our culture and be deliberate in creating an environment to attract and retain the best people. It also sets out our ‘People Promises’, under headings of Supportive, Safe and Inclusive, which help to create a positive experience for all those who work within the organisation.

We aim to have an inclusive, diverse workforce, representative of the communities of Scotland. Historically employment in forestry has been male-dominated and our current workforce continues to be reflective of this. We are striving to be more inclusive by improving our data, insight and analysis to ensure our actions are evidence-based and having a positive impact; driving workforce diversity through recruitment, retention and promotion to enable under-represented groups to be represented at all levels of the organisation; and, by developing policies and interventions such as flexible working to ensure inclusion is at the heart of our changing culture.

We are working with partners in education such as Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) to develop the next generation of foresters and land managers with our Apprenticeship Programme. In the last year we have significantly increased our Work Based Learning opportunities in both forestry and non-forestry roles and established dedicated support for this within our Learning and Development team. This is in direct support of Scottish Government's commitments to target future skills and capacity requirements in nature and land-based jobs by expanding existing apprenticeship and undergraduate schemes in public agencies.

Forestry can be dangerous work and we are committed to making it safe and responsible. To us, that means looking after our employees’ health, safety and wellbeing. It also means caring for those we work with, our visitors and the communities we work in. We want to be an example of good health and safety practice to all organisations working in the forest environment. FLS is a member of the Forest Industry Safety Accord (FISA) working with others to significantly improve the health and safety performance in the forest industry. We take pride in our health, safety and welfare culture. We aim to:

  • Eliminate avoidable work accidents;
  • Sustain a healthy working environment that supports physical, mental health and wellbeing;
  • Promote healthier lifestyles, benefitting workforce health; and
  • Foster a strong health, safety and welfare culture with those we work with.

We treat the risks to our mental health and wellbeing with the same importance as we give to risks to our physical safety. We proactively support wellbeing and have over 100 Mental Health First Aiders who champion good mental health, as well as support colleagues who may be experiencing poor mental health. This has never been so important with the COVID-19 global pandemic, subsequent lockdown periods and significant changes in how we all work and interact with each other.

We also encourage a culture of openness, where employees feel confident to raise concerns about potential wrongdoing and this is supported by our Whistleblowing policy. We have recently piloted and will now be taking forward ‘Engaging the Bystander’ training which will help colleagues to identify and challenge inappropriate behaviours. This is also supported by our Harassment and Bullying Policy which is designed to ensure we have and maintain appropriate standards of performance and conduct that are core to FLS’s efficiency and ability to deliver high levels of service. The policy also helps to ensure that we proactively discourage harassment and/or bullying and deal with complaints about this type of behaviour promptly and appropriately.

We are driving forward an ambitious improvement programme that puts health, safety and wellbeing at the heart of our organisation working in partnership with staff and trade unions through a network of Scottish safety committees.

Our key priorities over the next three years in the delivery of this “Supportive, Safe and Inclusive Organisation” Corporate Outcome are as follows:

  • Ensuring our workforce is equipped and supported: Identifying and addressing skills gaps; Improving learning and development; supporting career aspirations; and providing opportunities for staff to innovate; and promoting a healthy work-life balance.
  • Continuously developing a workforce for now and for the future: developing resilience in our workforce; nurturing leadership skills; ensuring continuity; and attracting, rewarding and retaining great talent to meet the evolving needs of the business.
  • Ensuring continuous improvement in relation to Health, Safety and Wellbeing: Reducing accidents and incidents; following and embedding the ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’ cycle; and promoting good practice.

Actions we will deliver under this Corporate Outcome over the period 2022-2025 include:

  • Reviewing and updating our People Strategy.
  • Continuing to treat risks to our mental health and wellbeing with the same priority as physical risks.
  • Providing ongoing support on health, safety and wellbeing across FLS including reactive support, site visits, meetings and webinars.
  • Implementing the new Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy and Management Framework.
  • Using targeted positive action measures to try to increase the diversity of our workforce.
  • Considering where we can adapt our processes to meet and exceed our Corporate Parenting obligations.[4]
  • Workforce planning to support effective matching of priorities and resources now and in the future.
  • Supporting the Apprenticeship and Student Programme in all parts of the business.
  • Strengthening the professionalism of our staff through increasing their membership of accredited institutions and providing new opportunities for continued professional development.
  • Rolling out the ‘Engaging the Bystander’ training to identify and challenge inappropriate behaviours.
  • Continuing to use technology more effectively to communicate, limit the need for staff to travel and reduce our resource consumption and waste footprint.
  • Expanding our flexible working arrangements to build on the experience from COVID-19 working.

Outcome 5: A High Performing Organisation

Forestry and Land Scotland is recognised as a high performing, efficient and effective, financially sustainable organisation that continues to transform and adapt.

Forestry Strategy Priorities for Action:

  • Improving efficiency and productivity and developing markets.

Other Key National Strategies and Documents:

  • Programme for Government
  • National Strategy for Economic Transformation
  • Deputy First Minister’s COVID Recovery Plan
  • Climate Ready Scotland: climate change adaptation programme 2019-2024
  • Energy Strategy: Position Statement (2021)

Scotland’s National Outcomes:

  • We have thriving and innovative businesses with quality jobs and fair work for everyone.

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 04: Quality education
  • SDG 05: Gender equality
  • SDG 08: Decent work and economic growth
  • SDG 09: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

FLS is an executive agency of the Scottish Government and how we operate and our relationship with Scottish Ministers is set out in our Framework Document.

FLS is also a trading body and is classified as a public corporation, for the purposes of its accounts, by the Office of National Statistics. This classification was awarded based on the nature of activity within the business and the high proportion of business trading. The classification enables the agency to build and sustain essential financial reserves across financial years to sustain and deliver outcomes. These are essential in managing the dynamic of activity in the forestry sector.

That means that the vast majority of our funding comes from commercial trading activities such as the sale of timber, renewable energy schemes, recreation, estate management and other income raised by FLS. Income raised goes back into the management of the national forests and land. This makes us unique compared to most other public bodies in Scotland, who are fully funded by Scottish Government.

Like all other agencies and public bodies in Scotland, FLS is required to demonstrate compliance around the duty of ‘Best Value’ as set out within the Scottish Public Finance Manual. This means delivering best value based on sound governance, good management, public reporting on performance and a focus on improvement. We take a mainstreaming approach to the implementation of Best Value requirements, and as such, key actions are included in our business plans to ensure continuous improvement in performance whilst having regard to economy, efficiency, effectiveness, equal opportunities and sustainable development.

Since our establishment in 2019, we have been developing and implementing a sustainable financial model for the business, exploring and developing solutions to support the organisation and manage potential and actual financial challenges. We need to focus on the long-term future of FLS and how we secure that in a very different world in light of current challenges in Scotland such as recovering from COVID-19 and the UK’s exit from the European Union. This means ensuring that FLS is still achieving the balance of economic, social and environmental programs as we always have, and tapping into our knowledge and skills to innovate, invest wisely for the future and grow our business.

We have developed a ‘Business Sustainability Action Plan’ and a set of ‘Business Principles’ which focus on the long-term future of FLS and the national forests and land. These incorporate a commercially driven asset management approach across the portfolio which will focus on continuous improvement and long term financial viability. By effectively implementing the plan and principles, we are confident in meeting the following:

“By 2025 FLS will be a provider, procurer and enabler of services driven by achieving best value and financial outcomes supported by a healthy and motivated workforce. FLS will be independent, self-sufficient, sustainable, flexible and adaptable to respond to changing political, social, market and environmental influences and will be confident in our long-term role to deliver our Vision and Mission for the people of Scotland”

We have also been taking steps to ensure that we can continue to meet our responsibilities as an executive agency of the Scottish Government. This includes ensuring good corporate governance and developing and implementing strategies to meet Scottish Government policy requirements. Where possible we will continue to develop and deliver a ‘digital first’ approach for transactions with our customers and suppliers. We also aim to foster a culture of continuous improvement and innovation, building and improving on our reputation.

We want and need to work in partnership and collaboration with a wide range of organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors to effectively look after and manage the national forests and land. This is particularly important as we continue to experience challenges with the COVID-19 global pandemic and climate change. We will build on the work already undertaken in our first few years and continue to build, develop and maintain effective partnerships and networks to ensure we can deliver on our Corporate Outcomes whilst also contributing to the delivery of the Scottish Government Purpose and National Outcomes.

In order to continue to be a high performing organisation, we need to continue to meet challenges in relation to the Climate Emergency. Like other public sector organisations we have a crucial role to play in enabling Scotland to adapt to climate change. Taking a strong, proactive approach will ensure that the national forests and land, related infrastructure and services are fit for current and future generations and able to deliver positive outcomes across society. We are working with Adaptation Scotland to move along the maturity scale of the Public Sector Capability Framework for Adaptation.

The FLS ‘Route Map to Net Zero’ sets out the actions we will take to achieve zero ‘direct’ business emissions by 2045 and the targeting of reductions of those ‘indirect’ emissions generated by our suppliers/contractors associated with our activities.

An overview of our performance against our delivery priorities will continue to be included in our Annual Report and Accounts which are laid before the Scottish Parliament every year. We will also continue to publish corporate performance information on our website on a quarterly basis.

Our key priorities over the next three years in the delivery of this Corporate Outcome are as follows:

  • Tackling the Climate Emergency: adapting our business processes to respond the challenges of climate change including implementation of our route map to Net Zero
  • Developing and supporting our business systems and processes: developing more agile and dynamic business processes; digital transformation.
  • Appraising and Investing in our infrastructure: Ensuring infrastructure is fit for purpose and meets business needs, Built Asset rationalisation and investment (including roads/civil engineering).

Actions we will deliver under the “High Performing Organisation” Corporate Outcome over the period 2022-2025 include:

  • Taking actions to move along the maturity scale of the Public Sector Capability Framework for Adaptation.
  • Implementing the actions set out in the FLS ‘Route Map to Net Zero’.
  • Making full use of technology to communicate more effectively and limit the need for staff to travel, reducing our resource consumption and waste footprint.
  • Implementing and delivering business planning activity, including the Business Sustainability Action Plan to drive business financial sustainability and resilience.
  • Seeking new income generating opportunities from our national forests and land.
  • Working collaboratively with adjoining land owners and other agencies to improve the management of the national forests and land.
  • Maintaining the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS) certification.
  • Improving resource planning by increasing the quality, coverage and accuracy of forest information.
  • Developing and implementing a strategic programme of built asset rationalisation and investment including the rollout of smarter working practices across the organisation.
  • Developing and implementing the digital transformation programme to enable business process improvements.
  • Ensuring that FLS meets all statutory duties as an executive agency.
  • Reviewing, developing and implementing strategies and plans in relation to business improvement and Best Value.
  • Implementing and reviewing actions to enhance our approach to complaints and customer satisfaction.
  • Promoting the organisation and its activities, both internally and externally, and continuing to communicate the significance and benefits that the national forests and land bring to the people of Scotland.
  • Developing our project management approach to manage the balance of ‘business as usual’ and change.
  • Supporting effective governance arrangements including the FLS Strategic Board, Audit and Risk Committee.
  • Responding to Ministerial enquiries and Freedom of Information requests.
  • Providing a range of corporate services to Scottish Forestry, including a Human Resources service.

There are a number of plans and strategies which set out how we aim to operate and deliver and these are published on our website.


Contact

Email: corporate@forestryandland.gov.scot