The long-awaited review on grouse moor management (commonly known as the Werritty Review, named after the review group Chair, Prof Alan Werritty) and its options and recommendations for grouse moor regulation was finally submitted to the Scottish Government six months ago (18 November 2019) – see here.
The review was made public five months ago to the day (19 December 2019) – see here.
While there have been a couple of preliminary responses to the Werritty Review and its recommendations (e.g. Cab Sec Roseanna Cunningham here and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon here) we’re still waiting for the Scottish Government’s formal response. Understandably, this has been delayed as Ministers focus on dealing with Covid19.
Meanwhile, we’ve been interested in finding out how much the Werritty Review cost the taxpayer. This hasn’t been a straightforward process as ludicrous obstacles were put in our way (e.g. see here) but we do now have an answer, of sorts.
After a series of Freedom of Information requests, we now know that the full cost of the Werritty Review was £86,238.25, and we now know how some, but not all, of those costs were dispersed:
The comments in red in this table have been added by RPUK.
Interestingly, a number of names involved in the Werritty Review have been redacted from this table of costs. Looking through the full list of panel members and special advisors, as announced by the Scottish Government back in November 2017 (see here), through a process of elimination we believe the missing names from this costings table to be:
Professor Ian Newton [ornithologist] (panel member)
Alexander Jameson [moorland manager] (panel member) who worked for Strutt & Parker up to Dec 2018 but then went freelance, according to his LinkedIn profile
Mark Oddy [moorland manager] (panel member)
Dr Adam Smith [GWCT] (special advisor)
We can only speculate on the identities of the redacted names but it’s quite interesting to see the variation in per diem payments, presumably as a result of the different levels of input (time) but also perhaps as an indication of the participants’ perceived value as they negotiated their rates. This may also be the first time that all members of the review group have seen how much the others were paid, or not paid, as the case may be.
Of more interest (to us, at least), is how the the total cost of £86,238.25 compares with other Scottish Government-commissioned reviews. £86K seems an awful lot of money to those of us who work in conservation ecology and are used to being paid much lower rates for what could arguably be conceived as reports of much higher quality (i.e. actually fully-referenced!) but to others in different industries, £86K may seem a pittance, especially considering the number of individuals involved and the extended period (two years) it took to produce this review.
Unfortunately we don’t yet have any figures with which to directly compare but we will submit an FoI to find out how much the Scottish Government paid for the Golden Eagle Satellite Tag Review, lauded by highly-respected international scientists as being ‘exemplary’ and ‘thorough’ (see here). If there are other report authors who’d be willing to share some information here then please use the comments box.
Context aside, £86K is still a lot of money from the public purse and far too much for the Scottish Government to kick the report in to the long grass. Of course, there are other priorities right now but in the not too distant future we expect this review to rise back towards the top of the ‘things we can’t ignore indefinitely’ list.