The Hive at Kew Gardens. Image: Nick Caville / BDP
  • Many independent review recommendations are now business as usual for the LI

  • Two-year Phase 2 change programme to deliver more complex improvements to operations, strategy and more

Phase 1 completed despite challenging year

Last year, the Board of Trustees commissioned an independent review to help the Landscape Institute improve our ways of working.

Since the publication of the report and Board response in February, five working groups – under the direction of an Independent Review Implementation Steering Group (IRISG) – have worked together to strengthen the LI’s strategy, leadership, working environment, governance, and operations.

Thanks to the feedback of our members, efforts of our working groups, and stewardship of our workstream convenors, and despite 2021’s challenges, we’ve been able to deliver a successful Early Action Programme in the latter half of the year:

A truly member-led organisation

While the chief executive is ultimately accountable to the Board of Trustees, the LI President now provides line management on the Board’s behalf – including objective-setting, personal development, and appraisals – ensuring oversight of the LI’s operations lies with an appointed representative of our membership.


Members can now access formal records of Board and Council meetings, with minutes published in the LI members’ area as a matter of course within three weeks of each meeting.

Regulation, risk and whistleblowing

The LI has implemented several measures to ensure sound and robust governance.

We’ve further developed and strengthened the Risk Register, through which the LI fulfils our legal duty to identify and mitigate business, financial, reputational, and other risks to the Institute and the landscape profession. The LI’s Finance and Risk Committee now review the Register quarterly, escalating specific risks to Board as appropriate; and Board reviews the full register annually.

New Whistleblowing and Conflict of Interest policies for members and volunteers plug previously identified governance gaps, with both policies subject to a regular review cycle. We’ve also appointed a dedicated, independent trustee whistleblowing lead – Jane Clarke – on the LI Board. In the future, an independent Trustee will continue to be the point of contact for members and staff who need to whistle-blow.

And to ensure fair and objective regulation, this summer, we appointed a new adjudication panel. Robust recruitment, terms of reference, and training for the pool of people who can serve on this panel, along with a regular annual review and refresh, assures our members and the public that the LI is best fulfilling its role as a regulator, and that members adhere to the very highest standards of conduct and practice.

A new Code of Practice

Along with these changes to our adjudication process, the LI this month published a new Code of Practice for members.

The Code aligns the Institute with international ethics principles that we helped create, cementing us as a leading part of a truly global profession. Clear, concise, and using modern and supportive language to support – rather than enforce – best practice, the new Code is a huge milestone for our profession.

2022-23 Phase 2 change programme paves the way for better ways of working

Though challenges this year – particularly around capacity and staffing key roles – have delayed delivery of some of the Independent Review’s supported recommendations, a robust change programme will cement better ways of working in our ‘business as usual’ over the coming two years.

  • Three-year strategy: A three-year strategic implementation plan, created with the input of a wide range of stakeholders, will create clear, realistic, and collaborative ways of working for LI members and staff from 2022-25.
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) In August the IRISG commissioned an external Equality Impact Assessment focused on 27 of the 37 recommendations from the Independent Review. The report is due on 4th January 2022 with the findings to be presented to the Board.
  • Board Secretary: The Board has approved the appointment of a qualified Board secretary on the LI staff team, strengthening the connection between the Board and staff team and supporting the Board in delivering effective leadership for the profession. The appointed candidate is now in post.
  • Committee reporting: The Board will receive reports from subcommittees at least biannually, solidifying its oversight on all aspects of LI activity and supporting joined-up working.
  • Staff survey: An independent, externally benchmarked staff survey will anonymously measure staff satisfaction in future years. The results will inform an action plan that the President and trustees will review and approve, ensuring 360-degree feedback for the chief executive – supporting the LI in delivering its objectives, ensuring that our management is as accountable and credible as possible, and helping improve staff retention and efficiency.
  • Leadership: Through a regularly reviewed skills matrix informing independent appointments to the Board, our trustees will be able to fulfil key functions that may lie outside officers’ ordinary realms of expertise.
  • Resources and operations: Through monitoring and review of our staff and management structure, job descriptions, reporting lines, and operational goals, the LI will make sure we always have the right people in the right roles and deliver the highest possible standards of service to our members.
  • Head of finance: The appointment of a qualified accountant to this role will bring the right skills and experience to the LI staff team to deliver, in collaboration with the Honorary Treasurer, an appropriate level of financial oversight and transparency. Our interim head of finance, Donna Lawrence, is ably fulfilling these duties at present, and we will recruit a permanent head of finance in the new year.
  • Independent audit: An independent audit of the LI’s financial controls and reporting arrangements concluded in June. Its recommendations will inform the recruitment of our head of finance and their work plan for the coming year.
  • IT strategy: The development of an IT strategy, move to ITIL (industry standard) methodology, and introduction of IT development cycles will ensure the LI is investing in digital solutions that deliver the best possible value and service to members.

Find out more about the LI independent review


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