Good value: exemplary, effective and efficient delivery of public benefits

Key commitments:

  • We will seek a diverse range of income sources to underpin the cost of managing the National Forest Estate, and we will continually look for ways to achieve best value in delivery of public benefits.

  • We will make progressive reductions in the emissions from our management activities.

Key priorities:

  • Key to delivering good value is our culture and skills. We currently have four main corporate development programmes, all of which have culture and skills components.

  • We have recently embarked on a health and safety culture change programme. Having reduced accident rates through better equipment, techniques and procedures, we recognise that going further requires a fundamental shift in our culture. This is focused on empowering staff to act on health and safety concerns, and working with staff and contractors to learn from unsafe acts and embed safe working behaviours.

  • Relationship management is another corporate development programme where we are exploring with staff how we work with customers, visitors, communities, stakeholders neighbours and diversity groups. This can be challenging at a time of stretched resources but we are strengthening our approach by actively listening to stakeholders and getting better at how we manage contacts.

  • Developing our integrated land management credentials is in part focused on revising our approach to land management planning, and partly on developing partnerships with a wider range of land use practitioners. We are strengthening an outcome-led approach that will help us determine management objectives for each part of the estate, and the best mix of land uses and management approaches for delivering those objectives.

  • The fourth corporate development programme is strategic business planning, which has an important workforce planning element, where we are looking at future skills required to deliver our key commitments, and how we sustain our effectiveness within the limits of our reward package and finite budgets. We are currently looking at how we best focus our limited direct operational capacity to best complement what can be provided by the contract sector, and how we achieve the best team configuration to achieve joined-up land management and make the most of our limited local presence.

  • Other elements of our strategic business planning programme include:

    • how we link spatial and financial planning to ensure that are land management plans are financially as well as environmentally sustainable;

    • how we achieve sustainable income when receipts from the likes of timber and renewables can fluctuate considerably. Our aim is to continue to diversify income sources; to work with our commercial customers and partners to help maintain stable market conditions; to use our carry-over facility to help smooth out income flows; and to ‘invest to save’ when resources are available.

    • how we harness IT for helping our work out on the ground, minimising data handling and further embracing e-commerce;

    • how to do procurement in a way that is locally responsive but meets the regulatory and good practice requirements.