The Land Reform Review Group have been appointed by Scottish Ministers to identify how land reform will:
- Enable more people in rural and urban Scotland to have a stake in the ownership, governance, management and use of land, which will lead to a greater diversity of land ownership, and ownership types, in Scotland;
- Assist with the acquisition and management of land (and also land assets) by communities, to make stronger, more resilient, and independent communities which have an even greater stake in their development;
- Generate, support, promote, and deliver new relationships between land, people, economy and environment in Scotland;
The Review Group is chaired by Dr Alison Elliot. Its vice-chairs are Dr Sarah Skerratt and Ian Cooke.
Dr Alison Elliot (Chair)
Alison Elliot’s work straddles the university, civil society and the church. Formerly a lecturer in psychology, she is currently an Honorary Fellow at New College, University of Edinburgh. In 2004 she became the first woman to be appointed Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. She is Convener of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and a Trustee of Community Service Volunteers. She was a member of the Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services in Scotland and is involved in Government committees taking forward its proposals.
Alison lives in Edinburgh, was brought up in the Central Belt and had three crofting grandparents from Lewis and Sutherland. As Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Nation Committee, she presented a report on Land Reform to the General Assembly in 1998. She chaired the Scottish Land Reform Convention from 1998 to 2001. She welcomes the opportunity to revisit the issues surrounding the relationship between land and people in Scotland and looks forward to a fresh and constructive consideration of the subject.
Dr Sarah Skerratt
I am a Senior Researcher and Head of Rural Society Research at Scotland’s Rural University College (SRUC). I have been researching processes of rural community resilience for the past 24 years, through projects with partners in Scotland, the UK more widely, and internationally. My particular areas of interest are in rural community leadership, processes of change, how resilience of rural communities can be increased, and the potential role of next generation broadband in all of these. I am also very interested in how policy is put together and how it is then experienced on the ground.
Central to all my research is impartiality and objectivity, and this is particularly important when researching issues that are complex, and which are important to many people, such as land ownership, governance and management.
I am Principal Investigator for the Scottish Government-commissioned five-year research programme: “Governance and Decision-Making for Community Empowerment” (2011-2016), which brings together 8 researchers from SRUC and James Hutton Institute, and examines how to enhance the vibrancy and resilience of Scotland’s rural communities.
As well as being appointed as the Vice-Chair of the Land Reform Review Group, I am also a Member of the Committee of Inquiry of the Royal Society of Edinburgh into Digital Participation, and I am on the Board of the Rural Housing Service and the Solway Centre for Environment and Culture. I am on the Executive Group of the Crichton Institute in Dumfries, and an Associate Investigator on Aberdeen University’s dot.rural research programme (www.dotrural.ac.uk).
Ian is the Director of the Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS). DTAS promotes and supports development trusts - community led organisations who use enterprise activity and assets to regenerate their communities. DTAS has recently being involved in Scottish Government funded work around the transfer of public sector (predominantly local authority) assets to communities.
Ian has been involved in community development for over 25 years, including posts as manager of the North Edinburgh Trust and the Pilton Partnership.