Scottish Land Fund: evaluation

Independent evaluation of the Scottish Land Fund, commissioned by the Scottish Government and carried out by Mark Diffley. It reviews the operation of the fund and makes recommendations for the future.

Perceptions of administration

Communication with Land Fund Advisors

There is an overall satisfaction with the work Land Fund Advisors do for the community groups they work with.

Figure 11: Perceptions of Land Fund Advisor. Base: all (n = 176).
This shows the respondents perceptions of the land fund advisors. It shows that 94% of the participants rated the performance of the advisor as ‘very good’ (79%) or ‘good’ (15%). It then shows that 93% thought the advisor’s ability to answer questions was ‘very good’ (80%) or ‘good’ (13%). It then shows that 92% of the participants thought that the advisor’s communication with them were either ‘very good’ (75%) or ‘good’ (17%).

The positivity towards the Land Fund Advisors is echoed in the qualitative responses.

  • "Overall, they were really helpful and responded even late at night it off the next day."
  • "Our advisor couldn't have been more helpful."
  • "Our land fund advisor was exceptional in guidance, advice and support and shared our disappointment at the failure of our Stage 2 application. I believe our Land Fund Advisor did everything possible to keep us informed and assist us to deal with whatever came up in our path"

However, there are some calls for continuity with advisors and a cohesive approach when the named advisor is not available (for instance, during periods of annual leave).

  • "We have had a number of different advisors. All were very helpful, but more continuity would have been helpful."
  • "We initially had three advisors which led to some conflicting advice and poor response level. However, our final advisor was totally brilliant."
  • "Our application was submitted close to deadline and the first advisor was on holiday for some of that. An alternative contact would have been good."

Administration of the fund

There is some confusion within applicants to the fund about why two agencies are involved with the SLF, and that having two agencies can be a hinderance.

  • "It is not clear to me why the process needs to involve dealing with the Big Lottery at some points in the process and then with HIE at other times."
  • "By using one agency for both stage one and stage two"
  • "It can be difficult for the groups to understand why they need to deal with two agencies"

It would also be useful to have more support for groups who do require extra funding. There is a notion more could be done here from both applicants and stakeholders, however there are mixed opinions on how this could be achieved.

Some stakeholders would like to see the Scottish Land Fund process extended beyond the current two stages; however, there are different suggestions as to how best to achieve this change. Some stakeholders support the idea of introducing an additional element before the current stage one of the process, arguing that it would allow more opportunity to apply for stage one funding on more than occasion and allowing more support to organisations before they decide whether or not to make a formal application. Others suggest offering more assistance after stage two, which would offer ongoing revenue support, arguing that this would help applicants make money from their acquisition and could include advice on what other support they are entitled to apply for.



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