OLNP Forum review


Matt Whitney







The inaugural Local Nature Partnership Forum event took place on 12 October 2022. This paper assesses the success of the event and presents some pointers to follow for future events.


This paper also considers the role of the Forum and makes a recommendation for its future.



The Board is asked to:



Note the review of the first Forum event.


Approve the recommendations for the future of the Forum.





The OLNP Forum is a broad stakeholder group that will ensure the decisions of the board and actions of the OLNP are fully informed by the views and experiences of LNP members. The Forum’s inaugural event took place on 12 October 2022. This doubled as a launch of the OLNP.


The main objectives of the event was to foster a sense of togetherness around the aims and objectives of the LNP, to provide a networking opportunity, especially between the Board members and the wider partnership, and to gather feedback from partners on the deliverables that should form the workplan of the LNP under the three strategic areas of focus. Workshop sessions were conducted, the outputs of which can be found as appendices to this document.


Following the event, a feedback questionnaire was circulated, which received fourteen responses. This is considered a decent return from just fewer than one hundred attendees. Analysis of this feedback shows significant levels of satisfaction for all elements of the event that were surveyed. The following comment is representative of a number of pieces of verbal the LNP Manager has received:


The event was well-organised, the group facilitators did an excellent job and there seemed to be good opportunities for everyone to contribute.


This paper picks out another comment from this feedback process, which highlights a couple of key issues around the venue. This comment is to be contrasted with the graphic following it.


The venue was beautiful but rather remote and some of the rooms were acoustically challenging.



While there was significant praise for the inspirational nature of the venue, concerns around accessibility perhaps suggest a rethink. This is corroborated by an internal review process conducted by South and Vale staff involved in the organisation of the event, which illustrates the high levels or organisation required to put on an event such as this in a venue that is not equipped to provide for conference functions.


In terms of how the LNP Forum should operate, the Board is asked to weigh up the importance of gathering the views of the partnership and the value from provision of networking opportunities with the resource required to deliver a successful event such as the last one, and the opportunity cost of doing so. Another pertinent factor is the complexity involved in assimilating the views and opinions of such a wide variety of stakeholders into the workstream and strategic approach of the Partnership on a basis more frequent than annually.


Considering both these aspects, and the venue selection process conducted prior to the event, this paper recommends the next event is held at Didcot Civic Hall in early October 2023. If the Board is in agreement, LNP manager will secure a date and notify Board members immediately this has been done.


This approach should not preclude the Partnership from calling separate Forum engagement events on an ad hoc, basis should there be a need to do so, for example to inform our strategic approach to a specific aspect, issue or project. It is suggested this could be done at relatively shorter notice with an online workshop event. To support the Board’s consideration of this issue, this paper presents the following graphic illustration of Forum feedback questionnaire responses, showing what were considered to be the most important aspects of future events:



The Board is asked to consider the above when discussing the future function of the Forum.

Appendix 1


Oxon LNP Forum Outputs - Natural Capital Investment

This area of work largely focusses around leveraging finance from the private sector into nature recovery and nature-based solutions.

The recently formed LNP subgroup can help avoid duplication and unnecessary competition by identifying and supporting complementary enabling actions across three areas:


-         produce an ethical delivery framework, comprised of guiding principles for projects and sources of investment, linked to the LNRS.


-         undertake a quick market analysis of ecosystem service sellers/project developers

-         support development of projects to investment readiness.

-         provide dating service between funders and projects.

-         develop a Case Study, using a flagship best practice project. This would help to raise funds

-         increase resource within the LNP, creating a Natural Capital Investment Secretariat to scale-up the model.


-         Thorough market analysis – who are the buyers and investors, and what do they want to invest in?

-         Compile list of funders and seek funds



Appendix 2


Oxon LNP Forum Outputs – Nature Recovery

The Local Nature Partnership is working closely with Oxfordshire County Council and other partners to begin developing a Local Nature Recovery Strategy. Throughout this work it is important we remain open to new ways of working and new voices, whilst not re-inventing the wheel. We should to focus on three areas:


-         Ensure engagement with stakeholders is appropriate, timely and effective

-         Find new routes and approaches to engaging with farmers and landowners

-         Ensure timely engagement with policy makers enables appropriate consideration of nature within plans and strategies

-         Create a temporary policy solution in the absence of a LNRS, so Local Authorities can progress with ambition within their Local Plan timeframes.


-         Create a delivery plan alongside the strategy that can inspire the communities and landowners to take action.

-         Provide collaborative support for communities that want to deliver projects.

-         Ensure alignment/integration of nature recovery on farmland with other aspects of nature recovery in the county.

-         Invest in measurement, reporting and verification.


-         Create a publicly accessible map that is clear and easy to use, similar to Magic, that enables stakeholders to prioritise and plan.

-         Ensure connectivity with development mapping. This could be in the form of a Land Use Framework, which details proportions and potential locations of land needed for various purposes eg food, solar, housing, open habitat, woodlands, floodplains etc.

-         Develop inspirational mapping, with suggested visions for each ‘landscape recovery priority area’. This could then include case studies of best practice Nature Recovery projects.


Appendix 3


Oxon LNP Forum Outputs – People and Nature

The LNP has a new Nature and Health working group looking to increase equitable access to and engagement with nature. This group’s approach should be focussed around three areas:


-          Use LNP convening power to make current activity visible, bringing partners together and identifying gaps in provision. Overlay maps to identify target areas and opportunities (land and communities) for nature, people and nature & people.

-          Produce case studies to be used as advocacy tools. Moving people from Awareness through Access to Action.

-          What’s worked and what hasn’t? Collate local data, working with TVERC of the impacts on nature and people.


-          Commit to involving and engaging seldom heard voices

-          Research locally who are missing from the nature sector, and ask them how they would like to be involved.

-          Endorse and support partnership funding bids from delivery charities


-          Develop a joint approach to equality, diversity and inclusion, and health by bringing together nature organisations that are working with local communities, along with organisations who are experienced in improving equality, diversity, and inclusion, and in health

-          Enable community leaders to identify which groups of people are missing from community-led action, ask them what they want from their green spaces, and help them engage with their local green spaces.

-          Develop or signpost to guidance for improving access for all to community green spaces (physical access, greenways, and engagement).

-          Investigate the council process blockers to community action and encourage them to streamline processes.


-          Champion and influence strategic plans and policy to meet best practice (LGA requirements, PHE recommendations etc) Green Infrastructure, greenways, and active travel.

-          Produce or promote a design guide for new development (eg Building with Nature, Building Nature in, NE Green Infrastructure standards).

-          Support physical improvements to greenspace access, making best use of tools available to Councils (e.g. s106, CIL and other community monies).