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.

Recommendations for Future Change

As discussed throughout this report, the research has highlighted the broad positivity for the Scottish Land Fund among applicants and the range of stakeholders who participated in the qualitative research.

The fund is highly valued and seen as a vital tool for community groups who wish to transform land and buildings in their local areas. However, the evaluation has also highlighted a range of feedback from applicants and stakeholders which are aimed at improving the administration and functioning of the fund. The recommendations are grouped below; within each grouping recommendations are set out in order of priority to groups and stakeholders:

Application process

  • to consider adding and funding an additional stage, before stage 1, to help organisations make early decisions about the viability of their application,
  • to provide more financial support to community groups to learn about governance and provide advice and guidance,
  • do more to promote the fund, including updating promotional material and other literature, possibly including case studies,
  • rework the forms used at stages 1 and 2 so that they are supported by OS Mac systems as well as MS Word,

Fund criteria

  • to provide more detailed written guidance on eligibility criteria to help inform organisations about whether to apply, ensuring that guidance is written in plain, accessible language,
  • to consider changing the geographic criteria as current guidance is seen as a deterrent, particularly for urban-based community organisations, and could be changed to include 'communities of interest',
  • to consider publishing a clear set of criteria for judging future applications, particularly in a period of increased demand for the SLF,

Finances and Funding

  • concentrate any new money for stage 1 revenue funding to support applications,
  • to consider reviewing and altering the current capital to revenue funding ratios which would benefit a number of organisations,
  • to consider combining alternative sources of funding with the SLF, particularly in view of increased demand for SLF funds,
  • to consider ways in which funds can be released more swiftly in cases where an application to buy a building may be lost at an auction.



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