Case Study - Independent Review of the SARF

Client: Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum
Sector: not for profit

Aquaculture related images (copyright SARF)

The Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum (SARF) is a not-for-profit company and registered charity charged with undertaking and funding research on behalf of its member organisations, to improve the sustainability of aquaculture in Scotland.  

The SARF Board commissioned Risk Solutions to conduct an independent review and evaluation of the organisation to assess its performance and make recommendations for the future.  We examined all aspects of SARF’s operations and performance, reviewing its corporate governance arrangements, management processes, quality, the value for money of the research it supports and the way it communicates and disseminates its work.

Our ‘light touch’ method used a combination of face to face and telephone interviews with senior staff and Board members, written statements from experts outside the organisation who interact with SARF, and review of SARF’s own documentation to draw conclusions on SARF’s performance as an organisation.  We also considered the challenges SARF faces in the future, and made recommendations aimed at helping its Board of Directors focus on how they can meet these challenges.

We found that SARF is a well-managed organisation that performs a valuable role in the development of the aquaculture sector within Scotland. This role is recognised both by its member organisations and externally within the aquaculture sector. SARF is valued both for its ability to bring the disparate parts of the aquaculture sector together and for the quality and practicality of the research programme that it funds and manages. It provides a necessary bridge between industry, government agencies, NGOs and academia, and this role is particularly valued.

Our recommendations addressed:

  • Reviewing and updating SARF’s strategic objectives
  • Revising processes used to prioritise research and communicate findings, and
  • Strengthening governance.

Carried out at a time when public sector funding was coming under increasing pressure, the review identified significant challenges for SARF going forward, including maintaining funding at viable levels and ensuring the continued support and active involvement of trustees.


I would recommend Risk Solutions - our experience of working with them was very positive.
SARF Secretariat Client

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