Supporting impact - Scottish Crown Estate net revenue: local authority use and insights

Net Revenues from the Scottish Crown Estate have been distributed to coastal Local Authorities for the benefit of coastal communities since 2019. This study was commissioned as part of the review process for the first two rounds of distribution of Scottish Crown Estate net revenues.

Collective Impact

Finally, the framework of Collective Impact might provide a structure to future management of net revenues for maximum impact.

Collective Impact is an approach first characterised in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and offers a useful framework that you may consider in the next stages of development of your Local Authority approach. Collective Impact is a structured collaborative effort to unlock the combined capability of multiple actors across all sectors to secure large-scale change and impact.

This framework can be used at numerous different levels, with the questions and elements being as appropriate to Scottish Government as they are for Local Authorities and indeed for communities themselves. Collective Impact is based on five interdependent foundation stones (Error! Reference source not found.), which we explore in more detail below.

Extended article exploring Collective Impact

Table 3. Foundations of Collective Impact
Common agenda All participants have s shared vision for change including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions
Shared measurement Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable
Mutually reinforcing activities Participant activities must be differentiated while still being coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action
Continuous communication Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives and create common motivation
Backbone support Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization(s) with staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participation organisations and agencies.

Common agenda

What measures can you use to ensure all activities are contributing towards a common agenda, and that all stakeholders understand how their activity is supporting the bigger outcome?

The Collective Impact framework considers alignment to be one of the foundation stones of unlocking scale of activity. In practical terms, there are many actions you may consider to ensure all the activities you support are aligned.

Table 4. Examples of potentially relevant strategies in Scotland
National National Marine Plan This plan covers the management of both Scottish inshore waters (out to 12 nautical miles) and offshore waters (12 to 200 nautical miles).
National Planning Framework The third National Planning Framework, setting out a long-term vision for development and investment across Scotland over the next 20 to 30 years.
Crown Estate Scotland Corporate Plan Plan to manage Crown Estate Scotland assets, investing in property, natural resources and people to generate lasting value for Scotland.
Regional Local Development Plans Development plans set out the long term vision for where development should and shouldn't happen in the places they cover.
Core Paths Plan A Core Paths Plan must be drawn up by each access authority, to establish a system or network of paths 'giving the public reasonable access throughout their area'
Sectoral Scotland Outlook Tourism Plan Relating to other specific sub-sectoral plans, e.g. Marine Tourism – Giant Strides Food Tourism – Food Tourism Scotland

We have already noted the high-level policy aims of the Scottish Government and the strategic plans for each local authority which offer an immediate point of alignment and focus. They are, however, not the only policy, strategy or focal point that may be of direct relevance to your communities, and they could lack the necessary detail to feel place-specific, or to unlock the benefits of tightly focused and coordinated activity.

There are a considerable number of other strategies and plans that can support the articulation of that focus. Mapping your activity to the targets or objectives in these will help to ensure your approach is contributing to a larger scale impact. Some examples at national, regional and sectoral level are described in Table 4.

There is also the opportunity to draw many of these activities and strategies together and develop an integrated approach for your area. This change would more you from passive alignment to a third-party strategy, towards actively setting the conditions to unlock scale of impact in your area.

This is particularly relevant for coastal communities, which have both terrestrial and marine interests, and can lie at the interface between many strategic objectives. This offers extra complexity and challenge, but with that comes greater potential through the unlocking of marine and terrestrial assets. For example, Integrated Coastal Zone Management is coastal management planning over the long term, which considers the interaction of both marine and terrestrial activity together, involving all stakeholders, working with natural processes and using 'adaptive management', i.e. changing plans as threats change.

Nurturing Collective Impact: Regional Marine Planning

Regional marine planning allows for national planning policy to be adapted to reflect local circumstances. The legislation enables the delegation of planning powers from Ministers to regional Marine Planning Partnerships which comprise of, and will be influenced by, local interests and their representatives.

The diverse nature of marine regions and coastal communities can often be most effectively supported and enhanced by planning at a regional level. This is particularly important as our marine areas experience increasing, and often conflicting, demands combined with pressures from climate change.

Decisions made by public bodies will need to reflect these plans and their policies regarding licences, consents, permissions and in managing other activities.

Plans can cover topics that will add benefit to:

  • The physical, environmental, social, cultural and economic characteristics of the marine region and the living resources it supports,
  • The purpose of which any part of the marine region is used,
  • The communications, energy and transport systems of the marine region,
  • And other considerations which may be expected to affect those matters.

Regional marine planning offers the opportunity for Local Authorities to:

  • Provide a framework for sustainable development and conservation in the marine environment.
  • Contribute to increased predictability and strengthen coexistence between relevant industries that use the marine resources of the region.
  • Identify wider data and marine management challenges and work with stakeholders and relevant authorities to develop management or technical solutions.
  • Identify conflicts and develop strategies to resolve them by posing local solutions.
  • Potentially create savings in marine management and support sectors and ecosystems whose economic benefits are many orders of magnitude higher than the costs of the plan development and implementation.

Shared measurement

How can you collect data and measure results consistently across all partners to ensure they remain aligned and to help them hold each other accountable?

The setting of targets is essential to any project and the attainment of a bigger ambition, but being able to measure whether or not those targets are being met is the cornerstone of success.

For the majority of Local Authorities, the larger ambitions of net revenue distribution are measured separately through the tracking and monitoring framework for the Local Authority plan. This may feel distant and may not afford the sharp focus on an outcome that helps to drive activities forward.

Tracking and measurement is challenging, especially when obvious metrics do not exist, but even an imperfect measurement adds value. With the Just Transition to Net Zero and climate change in mind, the use of a carbon metric (i.e., reduction in CO2 emitted or new carbon sequestered) would offer a suitable focus, and allow every project to be considered in terms of net carbon.

Mutually reinforcing activities

What measurements can you take to link and connect activities?

Due to the centralised management structure, the majority of activities supported by net revenues can operate in relative isolation, with coordination between organisations reliant upon the administration organization. Moving forward, there is an opportunity to connect and align activities supported by net revenues to build on each other's success, and to systematically unlock a larger scale of impact. This networking of activity allows an entire region to raise the level of service or capability, beyond fragmented development.

Continuous Communication

How might you effectively share information, ideas and updates across the group of partners?

Innovation transfer is a powerful but often overlooked tool, to avoid groups working in isolation and duplicating effort. At all levels there is opportunity to enhance this form of innovation and to get a step closer to Collective Impact, by adopting more systematic approaches to the sharing of information and ideas.

This could take numerous forms, and is as relevant for comparing notes between Local Authorities as it is to the group of supported projects within a Local Authority area. Innovation and knowledge exchanges approaches are being updated and tested across sectors, and there are resources available to help organisations develop relevant, pro-active strategies to ensure effective transfer.

Backbone support

Can you resource an organisation to facilitate the coordination, networking and impact of all these partners?

The Collective Impact model relies on an organisation or group of organisations that facilitate the efficient, connected and aligned working of the larger group. Referred to as a backbone, this function is not one of outright leadership – that space is filled by the development of a shared ambition and set of goals – but is there to help to create and maintain momentum.

In the case of net revenues, this function could be fulfilled by the Local Authority through existing resources, or even be commissioned as one of the activities supported by net revenues. Alternatively, community groups could be supported through net revenue income to develop the capability and capacity to fulfill this role.

The work led by this organisation will not only support transfer innovation, more deeply align and connect activity and improve the gathering and use of data, but also help to foster a long term pipeline of potential projects which in term ensures there is a race to the top in terms of quality of funded activity.



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