This website uses cookies. Continue browsing if you consent to this, or view our privacy policy.

Good Practice Casework Report published

Gemma Campbell

Our series of protocols, based on the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement (LRRS), set out practical advice on how landowners, land managers and communities can work together to make better – and fairer – decisions about land use.

We encourage people to get in touch with us when they have enquiries about our protocols and how to use them, or when they encounter a situation that differs significantly from the expectations we have set out, which may require further action. This is important to us as the enquiries and cases we get tell us about people’s lived experience and help us to understand the kind of issues people are encountering in relation to land ownership, use and management. We have reviewed our casework for the three years from April 2020 to March 2023 to draw out lessons that can help us to enable and encourage good practice.

We heard from a wide range of people and organisations across Scotland. Some were looking for information, some asking us to help them resolve a problem in their local area, and others asking for advice about how they could implement the LRRS principles.

Some of the contacts were easy to respond to – we could signpost people to places where they could find the information they were looking for or introduce them to someone who could answer their questions or help them to take an idea forward. Others were more complex – situations where communication was poor, relationships had broken down, or there were fears about repercussions for speaking up about a problem. We did our best to help people to communicate and to reach a place of awareness and understanding.

Often, the key thing that could have prevented an issue from occurring was better communication. A lack of, or ineffective, communication can lead to misunderstandings or disagreements. Regular interaction and discussion can help to build relationships and trust, leading to more transparency and better engagement. This can makes things easier for everyone when a change is being made, a project is being taken forward, or an problem is identified.

Our partners in the Good Practice Advisory Group have led the way in encouraging their members to demonstrate what can be done to demonstrate model good practice, and they are joined by an increasing number of influential membership and professional bodies who also recognise the importance of responsible landownership.

Our work with the advisory group and our experience from our Good Practice Programme demonstrate that the principles of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement can be implemented by all those with an interest in land, across different sectors and contexts. We will continue to provide guidance and support, but our casework shows we cannot rely on goodwill and voluntary approaches alone. Further measures are needed to encourage everyone to follow the good examples that have already been set, and to provide backstop measures where necessary.