Highlands and Islands Enterprise: financial management review of Cairngorm Mountain

A review of Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s handling of its engagement with Natural Retreats in relation to activity on Cairngorm Mountain.


Officials from the Financial Management directorate, under the supervision of the Chief Financial Officer have undertaken a review into Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)'s handling of its engagement with Natural Retreats[1].

The scope of this review is set out in Annex A to this report and this was agreed by the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy.

This review consisted of the following:

  • A desktop review of key documentation in relation to HIE's engagement with Natural Retreats concerning operations at Cairngorm Mountain from initial decisions around procurement options, through to the period in which HIE was in negotiations with the administrators of the Cairngorm Mountain Ltd. These included Board minutes and papers as well as papers from HIE's advisers;
  • Follow up questions based on the desktop review; and
  • Meeting with senior HIE officials including the interim Chief Executive.


The authors of this report do not mean it in any way to suggest any wrongdoing, negligence or maladministration on behalf of any person. It may not be founded on to impute any wrongdoing, negligence or maladministration on behalf of any person.


The report's recommendations are summarised in the table below:

Table 1: List of recommendations
Ref. Recommendation Title
R1 Application of procurement moderation
R2 Assessment of security and residual risks
R3 Ongoing assessment of financial standing
R4 Financial scrutiny of operator costs


Email: enterprisesponsorship@gov.scot

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