Regional Land Use Partnerships: phase 1 process evaluation - final report

The Regional Land Use Partnerships (RLUPs) evaluation report considers the lessons learned from the Year 1 (2021 to 2022) pilot process. The report was completed by SAC Consulting and outlines key early findings from RLUP pilot establishment.

Appendix D: Full list of interview questions

Section / theme [interviewer’s notes]

  • Topics
    • Questions
      • Follow-ups / prompts


  • Housekeeping
    • Signed consent form? Any questions? OK to record?
    • Start recording
    • Introduce / reminder on evaluation project, road map
    • Reminder that this is primarily about identifying lessons learned, piloting, so flag those up as we go
  • Overview of the process to date
    • Describe some of the greatest successes of your team in establishing your RLUP pilot. What was so significant about these?
    • What have been some of the greatest challenges you have faced in establishing your pilot?
    • Reflecting on these successes and challenges, what are some of the key lessons you would like future RLUPs to learn from your experience?
    • What have been your main sources / examples for how to establish your RLUP pilot?
    • What are the most important SG policies and or pieces of legislation that have influenced the development of your RLUP pilot?
      • How have these been a help / hinderance to your work?


  • Checkpoints towards establishing governance.
    • How have you progressed with regard to establishing a governance structure?
      • Written terms of reference for partnership board?
      • Board members appointed? If so, how? What types of people are on the board? Who decides? And any challenges?
      • What does the process look like to become a board member? Do you have internal clearance processes in place?
  • Enabling factors for governance
    • To what extent has prior experience of partnership or collaborative working within your region influenced your ability to establish a governance structure?
      • Have you found any existing examples of partnership / governance structures useful for establishing your own?
      • Scale/extent/number/function of other partnerships and players, helped or inhibited?
      • How has the lead organisation (e.g., Local or National Park authority) enabled the establishment of your RLUP? How do you see this working into the future?
      • Is your lead organisation limited in any way? What support do you need / Which areas will you need to expand?
    • How has the size/diversity of your region impacted the development of your RLUP? How do you anticipate it will affect the working of your Partnership?
      • How might you manage those impacts?
      • What about the landscape characteristics of your region?
      • Does an urban / rural setting impact how an RLUP functions?
  • Governance to enable stakeholder engagement
    • Have you built stakeholder engagement into the process of establishing your governance structure? If so, how?
    • Have you had to deal with conflicts of interest between different members of the partnership, and the wider stakeholder community? If so, how have you dealt with these?
      • Do you feel you have the skills/people to do this effectively?
  • Lessons learned from establishing governance structure
    • Have there been any other particular challenges or successes you would like to share?

Stakeholder Engagement

  • Checkpoints towards stakeholder engagement
    • How have you progressed regarding stakeholder engagement?
      • Formal written plan? (methods, prioritisation, timetable, reporting)
      • Engagement underway?
      • Formal contacts list / register / map? How many contacted? Which groups? By which methods?
  • Methods
    • What methods have you used / will you use for stakeholder engagement?
      • Did you base your stakeholder engagement methods on previous work or best practices?
      • What mechanisms have been used to ensure all relevant stakeholders are engaged, including those who might be considered vulnerable or hard-to-reach?
      • How have you designed the process to ensure all stakeholders have a voice and can actively engage in decision-making processes that affect them?
      • How did you define, identify and categorise key stakeholders?
      • To what extent have stakeholders been engaged in scoping the context, framing, system boundaries and aims of the work of your RLUP?
      • To what extent have: you learned from your stakeholders, stakeholders learned from each other, and stakeholders shaped decisions in your RLUP, based on engagement?
  • Enabling factors for stakeholder engagement
    • What is the level of experience with stakeholder engagement within your team? What further support / training would be helpful?
    • To what degree does the stakeholder engagement necessary for your pilot map onto existing activities in this area? How much more engagement is necessary on top of business-as-usual within your region or lead organisation (e.g., Local or National Park authority)?
    • What existing stakeholder networks have you been able to leverage? Have you found any gaps?
      • Which stakeholder groups or organisations have been easiest and hardest to engage and why?
    • Are there any other characteristics of your region (geography, population, communities, stakeholders) that you feel are barriers or enablers to your stakeholder engagement?
  • Stakeholder feedback and impact
    • How have you / do you plan to evaluate the success of your stakeholder engagement?
      • Have you had any feedback from your stakeholders on how they feel throughout the engagement process? Have they been willing to be involved?
  • Lessons learned from stakeholder engagement
    • Have there been any other particular challenges or successes you would like to share?
    • How would you adapt or continue your approach in the future?

Natural Capital

  • Checkpoints towards a natural capital approach
    • Have you undertaken / you plan to undertake any structured assessment of natural capital within your region? What methods have you used / might you use?
      • E.g., Mapping natural assets (location, extent);
      • Collecting evidence and information on the condition of natural assets;
      • Speaking to stakeholders and communities about which landscape features they value and why;
      • Using quantitative techniques to model physical flows of ecosystem services;
      • Valuing the benefits of ecosystem services (monetarily)
    • How did you set boundaries for any natural capital assessment, including geographical boundaries and decisions about which stocks of natural capital and ecosystem services to include, and which stakeholders to engage in the process?
  • Enabling factors towards a natural capital approach
    • What is the experience with and understanding of natural capital within your team?
    • Which, if any, of these activities were already underway in your region / within your lead organisation?
    • Are there any other characteristics of your region that you feel are barriers or enablers to your developing a natural capital approach?
    • What support do you expect / do you anticipate needing from SG on natural capital?
  • Opportunities in taking a natural capital approach
    • How have you considered a natural capital approach in establishing your structure and governance arrangements?
    • Have you considered the consequences of changes in these natural assets and services on the goals and interests of different stakeholders?
      • E.g., via biophysical assessments and valuations, including non-monetary methods to assess shared, cultural values, in addition to more traditional monetary valuations of natural capital impacts and dependencies?
    • How are you evaluating your application of a natural capital approach?
      • E.g., to provide summative feedback to stakeholders involved in decision-making and investors on the outcomes of the process, and provide formative feedback to inform future applications of the approach?
    • What opportunities for public and private natural capital financing have you identified?
      • E.g., agri-environment, Woodland Carbon Code / Peatland Code, philanthropic monies) and/or payments for other ecosystem services, e.g., flood risk alleviation, water quality, biodiversity and recreational benefits?
  • Lessons learned from natural capital
    • Have there been any other particular challenges or successes you would like to share?
      • Are there any other delivery instruments / mechanisms have you considered or tried to access to deliver your plans? What have been the barriers preventing you accessing these?


  • Do the pilot regions understand what their data requirements are, or would they benefit from more SG support in regards to data needs?
    • Baseline qualitative and quantitative measurement of natural capital (carbon stocks, flows, biodiversity levels of species) and through-time measurement of same?
    • Carbon or biodiversity credits created or ecosystem services traded?
  • Checkpoints towards use of data
    • Relevant expertise identified?
    • Work undertaken to verify data sources and their quality?
    • What specific data categories and are critical for effective decision making and stakeholder influence?
      • E.g., CO2 t/e stocks and flows; Biodiversity levels of species; Water quality, flood management; Trades of ecosystem services and their value; Creation of credits and their potential value
    • What training do you anticipate will be necessary (from SG) to achieve your outcomes for integrating a data-driven, natural capital approach?

Other feedback

  • Pilot progression
    • How do you feel your progress to date compares to the Phase 1 specification?
    • What will be your most immediate next steps?
    • What difference do you think being an RLUP pilot has made compared to business-as-usual? What have been the main benefits / advantages?
      • Has being a pilot helped you to innovate?
    • What are the main barriers keeping you from achieving more? Were there instances in which you were limited by something in achieving these outcomes?
  • Specific feedback for SG team
    • Have you received adequate support from the RLUP Policy Team? How could they better support you?
    • Are there parts of the project specification or RLUP ask generally that you would like more license / freedom on? Or a firmer steer?
    • Have you found Coordination Network meetings helpful? How could they be made more useful?

Influence at scale [If time; speculative, looking ahead to later phases]

  • From your experience during this pilot, how do you think partnerships can have influence when they have limited financial or regulatory power?
  • From your experience, how do you think RLUPs might have influence through the planning system? How could they integrate with an RSS in practice?
  • How is meaningful engagement achieved at the regional scale



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