Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2014-2020 Stage 2: Final Proposals

Stage 2 document setting out the final proposals for the new rural development programme period (2014-2020).

Section 16: Advisory Service


324. Effective advisory capacity and provision has been consistently raised as a significant contributor towards the successful delivery of outcomes and added value. Responses to the stage 1 consultation confirmed widespread support for an expanded Advisory Service providing targeted local advice in order to achieve improvements in our agricultural sector, enhance and maintain our environment and respond to the impact of climate change. This will build on the advice already available to all businesses in Scotland via the Business Gateway. In addition the ERDF is developing plans to provide resource efficiency advice for all business types in Scotland, including agriculture.

325. The proposal is, therefore, to establish a co-ordinated Advisory Service delivered through a Scottish Government hub with a singular brand identity to build customer recognition and designed to help farmers, forest holders, other land managers improve their economic and environmental performance.

Legal basis

326. The Advisory Services comes under RDR article 16.


327. Building a robust Advisory Service will have duel key overriding benefits. Rural farmers and land managers will have access to local targeted advice from professional advisers that will ensure delivery of both public and business benefits. Additionally, it will assist the Scottish Government's core purpose of creating a more successful country through increasing sustainable economic growth.

How it will work

328. A criticism of the current advisory provision is that it is too fragmented. The new service will, therefore, have a strong interface with RPID area offices and the Futures Programme; key agencies such as SNH, SEPA, FCS as well as Local Authorities, Local Action Groups, National Parks and the SRN. It will also work closely with the key stakeholder organisations such as National Farmers Union Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates, Lantra, the levy bodies and the Scottish Crofting Federation.

329. The advisory hub will deal with all aspects of advice, knowledge transfer and customer interface. The responsibility of the hub will be to provide advice and assistance to farmers and crofters via a dedicated advice helpline, web guidance, publications and links to case officers and operational customer service.

330. The hub will oversee the necessary accreditation infrastructure for the Advisory Service, and this will aim to ensure that advice provided by consultants is fit for purpose and consistent with a greater emphasis on training and continued professional development to ensure that the requirements of the new advisory system are met.

331. The hub will be responsible for administration and funding for the production of Integrated Land Management Plans. These would in essence be a health check/audit focusing on environmental considerations, climate change mitigation and impacts, water pollution, habitats etc. These will be undertaken by the generalist advisors. This would lead on to more specialist advice on a range of issues undertaken by advisors fully equipped and trained in the relevant specialism.

332. The hub will have responsibility for the national 'one to many' advisory sub programme which will be tendered out. All events and workshops will be advertised through the advice portal.

333. The hub will be responsible for delivering the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund including the Monitor Farm programme and ensuring that events and workshops from this are all advertised through the advice portal. This will include benchmarking and demonstration projects.

334. A diagrammatic representation of the proposed Advisory Service is given in diagram D.


335. The hub will be in place to coincide with the timetable at annex A that will see the programme open for applications from January 2015. However, there may be elements, particularly those subject to public procurement provisions, delayed until later in 2015. If that turns out to be the case, then arrangements will be made to manage the transition.

Intervention rate/financial allocation

336. Under the draft regulation, there is a maximum support of €1500 per advice and a maximum of €200,000 for training of advisers over a three year period.

337. Indicative research suggests that the budget allocation over the programme period should be £20m.

Diagram D: Proposed Advisory Service

Diagram D: Proposed Advisory Service

Question 31

How would you rate your broad satisfaction with the proposals for the Advisory Service? Please tick the appropriate box in the online questionnaire.

Very satisfied
Quite satisfied
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
Quite dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied

If you are dissatisfied please briefly outline your reasons (in the space given in the online questionnaire).


Email: Julie Brown

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