The Future Landscapes Project
The project will explore how the AONB Network and its national charity can become more resilient and better prepared to address strategic challenges. It is part of a wider ambition of the NAAONB to develop organisational and professional capacity to respond to changing political, policy and fiscal challenges.
This positive development will help ensure that the AONB Network can continue to help support the UK’s treasured national landscapes and ensure their contribution to the economy and well-being of UK society. In order to deliver the Future Landscapes Project, the NAAONB has received support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in the form of a £164,300 Resilient Heritage grant, made possible by National Lottery players.
The Future Landscapes Project consists of two complementary elements:
- A crucial review of the sustainability and governance of the NAAONB Charity, investigating the remit, structures, resourcing and accountability of the organisation;
- A professional and personal development programme, Taking the Lead, delivered to a cohort of AONB staff to help develop greater collaborative working across the AONB Network. Participants from the programme, coming from the 38 AONBs in England and Wales, will receive personality profiling and coaching. Topic working groups will then be established to address complex problems facing the AONBs.
- To establish a more resilient and effective charity that can represent and work for the AONB partnerships and that can tackle current and future challenges, with a different business model and a stronger financial position.
- AONB Network staff to develop skills to work together and ensure that heritage is better looked after, managed and understood. To establish better ways of addressing collectively the challenges we are facing.
- To establish interconnected local teams coming together across different geographies and working effectively acting as an decentralised network.
Matthews Associates are a management consultancy with a wealth of experience in both public and private organisations and an in-depth understanding of rural economies and communities. Their team specialises notably in helping clients develop successful business strategies, organisational structures and governance.
Odyssey are award winning behavioural change specialists, providing consulting services in Organisational Change (culture change, leadership development, staff engagement, collaboration), Team Effectiveness (working with new, established or project teams) and Individual Effectiveness (leadership development, performance management and business leaders coaching).
Lumina Learning are a global provider of personalised assessment and development solutions for individuals, teams, and organisations. They design and deliver innovative digital psychometric resources that can be used as part of an impactful solution on top of qualifying and supporting a growing global community of practitioners facilitating such events and programmes.
Resources for Change is a socially responsible, employee-owned consultancy, which originated in the field of natural resource management and stakeholder engagement over 20 years ago, and retains this focus today. We have developed a reputation for ‘bridging the gap’ between sectors and creating real and long-lasting results because we work both at grassroots and strategically. We work extensively to support organisations in receipt of HLF funding to deliver heritage and environmental projects, including a considerable body of work relating to monitoring and evaluation.
Gallery - click/tap to enlarge
Topic Working Groups engage with AONBs at the Landscapes for Life conference
The project is encouraging collaboration between AONB staff through the creation of Topic Working Groups. These have focused on a range of key areas and you can read feedback from one of these groups, the Advocacy TWG, here:
"The focus of our TWG has been advocacy. At the Landscapes for Life conference in July our display stand included a definition of what good advocacy looks like, a draft Advocacy Model, and a space for feedback on how you thought AONB’s should advocate for change. We tested the model by using the emerging Agriculture Bill as a live example.
To promote this work at the conference we held a debate about the pros and cons of AONB Lead Officers advocating with their MPs to support an important amendment to the Agriculture Bill. The amendment, which asks for ‘Landscape Quality’ to be included in the bill, was tabled last year. The role of the Lead Officers would be to keep the issue alive with their MPs as the bill progresses through Parliament.
During post-debate discussions, a cautionary approach was urged by a couple of delegates because of the wording of the DEFRA agreement which prohibits lobbying by AONB officers. On the whole however there was good support for continuing to develop our work to inform our decision-makers in order to secure the tabled changes to the Agriculture Bill (see photo).
What’s next? The key piece of work is to finalise and disseminate our Agriculture Bill briefing to AONB Lead Officers to assist discussions with their MPs. The Political Party Conference season starts on 13th September, providing an excellent opportunity to reach parliamentarians and party members to help secure policy improvements that help deliver the purposes of AONB designation."