As Director of the Forum, this is a major consumer of my time and effort but it defines the Trust’s work in Scotland and beyond. The end of the current financial year sees the transition from a fully funded operation to a partially funded one, as SNH ease back their funding for the Forum. Contrary to what you might think, I welcome this.
I have been walking the boards for the last 12 months leading up to this change to promote the work of the Forum and its unique selling points and to argue the case for the Forum to be commissioned to carry out projects for the Government, its agencies and anyone seeking a cross-sector, independent consultancy.
It was anyone’s guess whether this would yield any results, but I was keen to avoid the Forum’s activity retreating in line with the reduction of the SNH funding. It is far too early to draw any conclusions but the Forum’s order book is full, if not overflowing, and I am now having to put my money where my mouth has only been so far to make sure we deliver on our promises. Year-end underspend in the government agencies is a valuable resource towards the end of the financial year, but this year it has been like buses, all coming at once.
To provide an indication of the range of interest, I am setting up projects for: SNH, SEPA, Forest Enterprise, and Scottish Water and for the Scottish Government, I have started the review process for the Muirburn Code.
From the Trust’s point of view, it could be argued that this body of work furthers the cause of the Moorland Forum, but as the Trust is closely linked to the Forum and all the activity, I am comfortable that our involvement with the Forum serves to raise the profile of the Trust in Scotland, and throughout the UK. See the Moorland Forum website for more information about the Forum's activity.