Review of the Biological Recording Infrastructure in Scotland:Progress update

The Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum’s Advisory Group has this year undertaken to drive a review of the biological recording infrastructure in Scotland.

This is being done in order to inform any realignment of structures and resources necessary to achieve the Forum’s original vision:

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.

It is intended that the Review will be cohesive across Scotland and, by seeking support from all stakeholders, the outcomes will benefit from a willingness and energy to make any transitions necessary to implement a new infrastructure.

This progress update outlines the work that has been carried out so far and provides information where to find documents and further information about the Review.

We are just nearing the end of Stage 1 of the Review, the planning stage, and in August a paper outlining the potential framework for the Review, and the terms of reference and approach of a working group to undertake it, was written.  This paper, Paper1: Formation of, and Terms of Reference and Brief for, a Working Group to undertake this Review was approved at the recent meeting of the SBIF Advisory Group on 05/09/2016.  With this approval, Stage 1 is complete and so the Review can now get underway.

In addition to Paper 1, and to support discussions about the value of biological recording, especially with those less familiar with the subject, we have created a generic ‘Value Model’ visualisation of the components of the biological recording infrastructure.  Also referred to as ‘the Windmill’, it describes the communities and expertise involved in supporting the infrastructure, and using the data.  It provides a common vocabulary for discussion without focusing on how the components of the infrastructure are operated.

Figure 1: the Windmill: visualisation of the biological recording infrastructure
Figure 1: the Windmill: visualisation of the biological recording infrastructure

The next stage (Stage 2 of the Review) will involve the gathering of perspectives and requirements across all sectors followed by workshops to evaluate what could and should be on offer centrally, nationally and locally.  We are in the process of identifying who we will need to consult with during Stage 2 and how best to design the interviews and workshops needed.  Information from these will allow us to develop a high level business case setting out the need for change and the aspects that most need improvement.

We intend to issue a monthly highlights report about the Review.  This report will be circulated in the first instance to the Review sponsors, and will then be shared publicly on the Scotland pages of the NBN website.  All papers and associated documents (including the Windmill diagram), once approved, will also be shared on the website.

For further information about the Review please contact Christine Johnston, NBN Scottish Liaison Officer


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