The proposal to undertake a Review was approved by the SBIF Advisory Group at our meeting of the 5th September 2016. The SBIF Review Working Group was then formed to plan and carry out the activities outlined below.

The purpose of the Review was to determine the optimum Infrastructure for biological recording in Scotland, an Infrastructure that in turn will attract the necessary belief, commitment and investment by stakeholders to be sustainable and successful in fulfilling the original vision of SBIF:

“High quality species and habitat data will be collected and managed through a sustainable, co-ordinated and integrated local and national framework of organisations, partnerships and initiatives.  These data will be available to ensure that Scotland’s biodiversity, ecosystems and people benefit.”



To understand how our biological recording infrastructure is working and to seek ideas on improvements we undertook a questionnaire open to all roles and sectors, receiving 290 responses. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete it.

Download the findings:



To engage with the most ‘influential and interested’ of our major stakeholders, and to gain their detailed needs and ideas for an improved infrastructure, we held interviews with 47 individuals. The interviews followed the format of the same set of four questions

  • what roles do you hold?
  • what systems and processes do you use in carrying out your roles?
  • what problems do you have with these systems and processes?
  • what is your vision of the future?

Download the findings:


Historic literature

Additionally, to understand how the biodiversity data infrastructure has been reviewed in the past a literature search was conducted.  More information about this search and links to documents sourced can be found in the SBIF Review Archives pages.



Four two-day workshops were held to co-design an improved Infrastructure for Scotland, guided by the following set of assumptions:

  • That we will achieve full coverage of Scotland with data and services available for everywhere from anywhere
  • That we are seeking to maximise the step changes that can be achieved for collective benefit
  • That each workshop accepts the findings of the prior workshop and our Questionnaire and Interview results
  • That each workshop will produce a useful output to inform subsequent workshops and Review Recommendations
  • That, for the workshops noted, we will be agnostic about people (workshops 1-2), governance (workshops 1-2), funding (workshops 1-3) and technology (workshops 1-4)
  • That, in due course, all stakeholders will act to facilitate the governance and funding models proposed
  • That whatever we recommend could be replicated/desirable in other countries
  • That at least the minimum viable model is fundable

Click on a workshop image for further information.













Business Case for Change

Bringing the above information together, our business case sets out the current situation and the changes needed to address the issues identified through the Review.  It considers the options that could achieve these changes and the transitional arrangements that would facilitate them. It also appraises the level of value that would be gained from significant investment in the Infrastructure to assess whether such investment would be truly worthwhile for Scotland.  Finally, it makes 24 recommendations that, if adopted, will bring many benefits for all sectors and stakeholders.

Downloadable documents

   SBIF Review Final Report

The SBIF Review of the Biological Recording Infrastructure in Scotland

[80 pages, 3MB]

SBIF Review Summary Note