Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Terms of reference


The International Peer Review will assess the performance of the Trust in fulfilling its objectives as defined by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust Act 1980.

In conducting the review, particular attention will be paid to evaluating the Trustís ability to undertake and deliver programs, services and activities of an international standard that also contribute to state, national and international policies and agendas. The quality, relevance, productivity and effectiveness of the Trustís functions and program areas will be examined to inform recommendations for future priorities and planning. Of particular interest is the Trustís role in contributing to and delivering international conservation objectives set out under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (2011-20).

The review will also consider how the Trust prioritises and resources its current functions and program areas, with a view to ensuring that the Trust has systems in place to ensure it has a sustainable financial future.

Rather than being retrospective, the review will focus on current programs, services and activities being undertaken by the Trust, specifically in relation to how these align to the Trustís legislated objectives and to relevant state, national and international agendas.

The review will address the following questions and issues:

1. Strategic Planning
Master planning and other planning processes, risk management, including Occupational Health and Safety

2. Science and Conservation
Research and collections (SeedBank, Herbarium, Library) management

3. Communications, Marketing, Public Education and Visitor Services
Onsite and outreach programs, visitor experience and services, marketing, interpretation, volunteering, public relations

4. Estate Management
Living Collections, horticultural standards, site maintenance, heritage and infrastructure management

5. Fundraising
Friends, Foundation, Development

6. Corporate and Business Services
Governance, finance, business services, retail, events and site security

In no way prejudicing the direction the International Peer Review wishes to take, specific priority issues and questions of interest to Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust staff, Friends of the Botanic Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust were presented to the IPR. In order to identify and understand the issues being evaluated during the review, the review team may consult broadly with Trust and Friends staff, clients, sponsors and affiliates, including Government and other local and international institutions with similar objectives, activities and services.

Outside scope

The following activities and issues are outside the scope of this review:

  • the performance of services provided through the Office of Environment and Heritage and the Department of Premier and Cabinet (NSW)
  • the performance of lessees or clients outside visitor experience
  • Government policies and processes with which the Trust must comply, such as NSW Treasuryís budget processes and annual reporting requirements

Friends of the Botanic Gardens is an association incorporated in New South Wales under the Associations Incorporation Act 1984. The Friends also have a Trust Fund with deductible gift recipient status. As such, it is an individual entity that is legally independent of the Trust. Any constitution, policies and processes that are specific to the Friends and its committees are outside the scope of this review. The Friends Committee and staff, however, wish to cooperate with the International Peer Review in terms of its relationships with the Trust and associated entities in particular as they relate to fundraising activities and objectives.

Outputs & reporting

It is requested that draft and final versions of the written report be submitted via the Trust Chair and Trustees to the Executive Director in electronic and hard copy formats by the end of the International Peer Review. An oral report is requested for the last evening of the Review. It and the written report should attempt to:

  • address the issues specified within these terms of reference
  • provide options and recommendations based on the findings, with suggested timelines for implementation
  • include an Executive Summary (approximately one page) with an overview of the main findings and recommendations


The Trust will consider the findings of the review and any recommendations before the final written report is distributed.