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.


The study was commissioned in June 2021 and ran for four months to September 2021. Due to the short timeframe and capacity pressure within stakeholder organisations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this study aimed to draw out high-level lessons only.

Noting the commitment from Scottish Government to adopt a proportionate approach to reporting, we grouped the 26 Local Authorities who receive net revenues into three groups based on the total allocation in each round. The first group received the highest allocation (high-tier; £200k+ per annum), the second group received a smaller proportion (mid-tier; £40k - £200k), and the third group received a minimal allocation (low-tier; £1k - £10k).

The nature and the purpose of this study lead to a narrative (qualitative) discussion, exploring the themes and drivers behind decision making and seeking to offer concepts for consideration in the place-specific context of each Local Authority. This report therefore does not contain a detailed critique of each item of expenditure.

Research and Interviews

In order to understand the use of net revenues during the first two rounds, this study researched the publicly available information on the decisions taken by Local Authorities regarding the use of net revenues in order to identify common themes and successful approaches. It also explored other concepts, policies and ideas that could support decision-making to provide community benefit.

Our research and structured interviews focused on five broad themes:

1. Local Authority approach and the priorities/outcomes

2. Risk and innovation

3. Community engagement and voice

4. Measuring impact

5. Transparency and accountability

The £200k+ group (comprising seven Local Authorities) represented 90.7% of the fund with the £40k-200k and £1k-10k groups accounting for only 9.0% and 0.3% respectively.

Our approach to each group differed, with more time asked of the £200k+ group, including one to one discussions and follow up as required, and proportionately less time asked of the £40k-200k group. We chose not to approach the £1k-10k group for meetings and instead sent them an update, sharing emerging themes and seeking comment on those themes.

We also approached a series of other stakeholders to explore their views and potentially relevant concepts, including COSLA, Crown Estate Scotland, Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS) and project and policy leads across Scottish Government. From these discussions, we identified several case studies which highlight potential investment or distribution approaches, and these have been detailed within this report.

Analysis and reporting

The products of our research and analysis have been gathered and presented in this report.

Follow-up meetings

The final element of the approach is to engage with Local Authorities after publication of this report. The aim of this phase is to offer an opportunity to provide additional detail on any of the concepts raised, or to provide links to projects or other stakeholders that may be helpful. This will also allow an opportunity to evaluate any changes to the approach that are planned for the third round of redistribution of net revenues by Local Authorities.



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