Scotland: committee decisions June 2020

Summary minutes of the Committee for Scotland meeting on 10 June 2020 at 10am via Microsoft TEAMS.

Members:

  • Ray Macfarlane (Chair)
  • Sam Anderson
  • Liz Davidson
  • Gillian Findlay
  • Stuart Housden
  • Alice Mayne
  • Beltus Ojong Etchu
  • Martyn Wade

Apologies:

  • None

Committee Business

  1. Welcomes and apologies

Oral

The Chair welcomed everyone to first meeting of the financial year for the Committee for Scotland noting that due to the current circumstances this meeting was being held virtually.

Ray introduced Andrew White, Director for Wales to the meeting. Andrew attended the meeting as an observer as he was new in post. 

Ray also noted that Drew Benellick; Head of Land & Nature Policy joined this meeting to present to the Committee about the Natural heritage/environmental crisis (item 13).

  1. Minutes from the last meeting held on 5 March 2020 and matter arising

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Committee agreed the minutes and signed as an accurate record of the meeting.

  1. Declarations of interest

Oral

Stuart Housden declared an interest in the Cairngorms Capercaillie project (item 11).  it was agreed that he would absent himself from the room for the discussion and decision.

Alice Mayne also noted an interest in the Cairngorms Capercaillie project (item 11.) it was agreed that this interest was for noting and that Alice would remain for the discussion and decision.

Alice Mayne also noted an interest in the Silver Saplings project (item 10).   it was agreed that this interest was for noting and that Alice would remain for the discussion and decision.

  1. Chair’s Report

Oral

The Chair updated the Committee on the following areas. 

  • Ray noted that the Covid 19 pandemic had naturally restricted her activity since the last Committee meeting.
  • Ray noted that she had attended a presentation by the Cabinet Secretary on culture and heritage.  She noted that the Cabinet Secretary paid credit to the National Lottery Heritage Fund by highlighting our support to the sector through our Heritage Emergency Fund.
  • Ray acknowledged the many challenges facing the sector and hoped that the Committee felt they were well informed about the Fund’s response to the Covid 19 crisis through the Committee briefings provided.  
  1. Corporate Update

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Eilish McGuinness, Executive Director of Business Delivery, provided an update on corporate activity.  Key points noted were as follows:

  • A steady flow of applications continues to be received to our Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF) ..
  • We are extending the deadline for HEF applications to the end July 2020 (currently 30 June).
  • Planning is well underway for The National Heritage Memorial Fund’s £20m recovery fund.
  • Funding for Resilience and recovery programmes have been adapted and we have awarded £4 million to six projects which will now have an important role to play in supporting organisations’ adaptation and recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
  • We have published Managing Public Parks During COVID-19, a guide for public park managers to help re-open public spaces across England. 
  • We have launched our refreshed Corporate Strategy, which outlines our vision and priorities from now until 2021. 

 Scotland Director’s Report

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The paper was presented by Caroline Clark, Director for Scotland highlighted the following key areas.

Business Continuity

  • The Fund’s Scotland Office closed  on 17 March 2020 and the Scotland team moved to digital working from home, in line with government requirements.

Heritage Emergency Fund

  • The £50m Heritage Emergency Fund was launched as a UK-wide initiative. 

Heritage Horizons Awards

  • Organisations which had been selected to apply for Heritage Horizon Awards have had their decisions deferred until the 2021/22 financial year.

Scotland Initiatives

Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020: It has been confirmed that Scottish Government will extend this year into 2021 to help compensate for the many events and initiatives lost this year due to the pandemic.

Policy & Public Affairs: Since the onset of the pandemic we have worked with Scottish Government and sectoral bodies to collaborate and co-ordinate our emergency sectoral support.  

  1. Annual Report

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Caroline Clark presented this report which gave a review of the work of the Scotland team over the operating period 2019-20.   

  1. Wider Strategic Discussion

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Eilish McGuinness  gave an initial view of the current strategic funding framework and the ways in which it would need to be adapted to respond to the current health crisis and its future impacts.

Committee for Scotland members took part in a discussion which sought to gain their knowledge and insights about the consequences of Covid-19 for the organisations and sectors with which they have the most experience and contact.   This discussion followed written responses from Committee members in advance of the meeting.  

  1. Scotland Budget Overview

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This paper was presented by Riona McMorrow Head of Investment.  

SF4 Delivery second round applications for discussion and decision

  1. Silver Saplings: Wild and Well!; HG-17-04990

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Grantee: Wild Things!

Request: Award Grant of £475,700 (62%)

Project: A four-year project to deliver intergenerational nature-based activities across Moray, Inverness, Aviemore and Fochaber.

The Committee for Scotland awarded a first round pass of a first round pass of £525,400, including Development Grant of £49,700 (63% of eligible development costs) in September 2018.

Alice Mayne noted an interest in this project and remained for the discussion and decision. 

The Committee for Scotland agreed the application represented a HIGH priority for support and AWARDED a grant of £475,700 (62%)

  1. Cairngorms Capercaillie Project; HG-17-06106

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Grantee: Cairngorms National Park Authority

Request: Award Grant of £2,036,100 (70%)

Project:  To prevent the extinction of the Capercallie, one of the UK’s most endangered species, through urgent action on a landscape scale. A three-year landscape approach project which seeks to ensure the survival of the Capercallie through community-led conservation.

The Committee for Scotland awarded a first round pass of £2,604,500, including Development Grant of £346,500 (62% of eligible development costs) in March 2018.

Stuart Housden noted a conflict of interest and was absent for the discussion and decision.

Alice Mayne noted an interest in this project and remained for the discussion and decision. 

The Committee for Scotland agreed the application represented a HIGH priority for support and AWARDED a grant of £2,036,100 (70%)

  1. Prioritisation and feedback to grantees

Oral

The committee agreed that both projects represented a HIGH priority for support and agreed to award them.

Presentation

  1. Deep Dive: Natural heritage/environmental crisis by Drew Bennellick, Head of Land & Nature Policy

Drew Bennellick, Head of Land and Nature Policy at the Fund gave a presentation to the Committee about natural Heritage and the environmental crisis.  The presentation looked into why landscapes and nature are a key priority for the Fund and how we are preforming against our Strategic Funding framework one year in.  It also took a look at the new needs and opportunities that have a arisen and the draft vision for the next four years and what we need to do to get there.

Papers for Information

  1. Parks for People Report

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This paper was presented for information.  It was noted that there are no Scottish projects due for decision at this last panel meeting.  It was confirmed that the Parks for People programme has now ceased and all Scottish projects have had their Round 2 decisions. 

  1. Any other business

Oral

Committee requested to be updated on how we progress with wellbeing and Caroline reiterated that she welcomed input from the Committee on our planned Committee Away Day. 

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 9September 2020