Working in partnership with others, Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) is responsible for the delivery of the Scottish Government’s forestry policies as set out in the Scottish Forestry Strategy.
Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate. Our mission is to protect and expand Scotland’s forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of Forestry Commission Scotland and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
Forestry Commission Scotland supports five regional forestry forums to provide advice to FCS on a regional basis on forestry policy and practice, and integration with other activities and land uses.
The five forums cover:
- Central Scotland
- Highland and the Islands
- Perth and Argyll
- South Scotland.
Roles of the regional forestry forums
The role of the forums is to:
- Advise on the regional implementation of the Scottish Forestry Strategy and associated policy development; and to provide a regional perspective on FCS priorities for forestry
- Promote the principle of regional forestry and woodland strategies; and advise on their development and implementation
- Advise FCS Forest District Managers managing the National Forest Estate on their Forest District Strategic Plans
- Develop close relationships with the forest industries regional cluster groups (supported by FCS and the enterprise agencies)
- Where possible, provide linkages with Community Planning Partnerships.
How the forums work
Meeting three to four times a year, each forum establishes its own priorities and can set up smaller working groups to take forward specific issues.
Local issues identified by the forum can be taken forward by the Conservator (the FCS regional manager responsible for the promotion and regulation of forestry in their area). Regional issues of national significance will be highlighted to FCS at a national level.
Membership of Regional Forestry Forums
Each forum has 12–15 members, representing a broad spectrum of forestry and wider land management interests covering the economic, environmental and social and community aspects of forestry. Membership of the forum is for three years (with the opportunity of re-appointment).
The Chairs of the forums meet with FCS nationally on a regular basis.
Both Forestry Commission Scotland and Forest Enterprise Scotland have a seat on each Forum.
The posts are unpaid but reasonable travel and subsistence expenses are covered.
Code of conduct for forum members
It is appropriate that forum members are made aware of the conduct expected of them during their tenure of office.
This Code describes the responsibilities of members in relation to their individual conduct as well as the role of the Chair.
Responsibilities and conduct of individual members
Members need to draw a distinction between their position as FCS’ appointees and their activity in other capacities.
Membership is not an impediment to participation in other forms of public work or in the work of forestry and countryside organisations, but the position imposes some obligations. Individual members should at all times act with an awareness of their wider responsibilities. They should at all times:
- Comply with this Code;
- Act in good faith and in the best interests of furthering the aims of FCS.
Members should not:
- Act in a way which may bring Forestry Commission Scotland into disrepute
- Use information gained in the course of their public service for personal gain
- Disclose confidential information received by virtue of their appointment
- Use the opportunity of public service to promote their private interests.
As a general guide, members should not take any action which cannot be publicly explained.
Public criticism of Forestry Commission Scotland by the member is only compatible with membership of a forum when the member makes it clear that they are expressing a personal opinion or the views of their organisation and not operating in their capacity as an appointee of Forestry Commission Scotland.
Members are expected to attend meetings and participate actively. Membership of a forum may lapse if the member has been absent from more than two consecutive meetings of the forum, except for illness or some other reason approved by the Chair.
Declaration of Interests
Any member who has a clear and substantial interest in a matter under consideration by Forestry Commission Scotland should declare that interest at any meeting where the matter is to be discussed. Such declaration should make clear the interest and whether it carries either direct or indirect financial interest to the individual.
Where such an interest constitutes a direct or indirect financial interest, the member involved should withdraw from any meeting and not seek to influence any decision taken by the Forum relating to the matter under discussion.
In all circumstances, members should ask themselves whether members of the public, knowing the facts of the situation, would reasonably conclude that the interest involved might influence the approach taken or the actions of the forum. If so, the interest is sufficient for the member to withdraw.
Members who have any queries or concerns about these matters should discuss them with their Chair.
Informal and other business
Members should apply the same standards regarding the declaration of interests and non-involvement in relevant business in their dealings with Forestry Commission Scotland staff and in informal meetings of members.
Gifts, Hospitality and Fees
Members should treat with caution any offer of gifts, favours, hospitality or fees arising from their position in FCS. Members should consult their Chair in cases of doubt.
Role of Chairs
Chairs have (where appropriate) particular responsibility for providing effective leadership on matters such as:
- Encouraging high standards of propriety, in particular ensuring that individual members comply
with this Code.
- Providing an assessment of performance of individual members, on request when they are being considered for reappointment.
Chairs will ensure that the minutes of meetings accurately record decisions taken and, where appropriate, the views of individual members.
Resolution of Difficulties
If members have difficulty in complying with this Code, or believe that their forum is proposing to act improperly, they should raise the issue with their Chair who will advise on its resolution. If a forum member remains concerned they may seek guidance from Forestry Commission Scotland.