Results and learnings
Things take time: Start the project early and expect delays. Be prepared for changes to deadlines and delivery dates. Engagement with internal staff and the public can take time.
Offer little but deliver more: Manage project expectations and don't over-promise. Throughout the process it is best to remain humble in your approach and the work that you are doing, so when it comes to showcasing it and sharing your outcomes with management and colleagues, it shows how impressive it actually is!
Project communications: Be mindful when communicating about project actions with service leaders or colleagues, to ensure that you encourage positive engagement in the project. If some project actions seem too big of an ask for people or too directed towards them, then it might be best to share more ‘high-level’ actions, whilst still retaining the operational detail and requirements sitting underneath. It is likely that certain high-level actions will have a number of key stakeholders and will require further discussion and clarification.
Bringing stakeholders together: It is key to form a Climate Action Group, identifying key members and their backups, and ensuring that they are included in the feedback process from the start. This can reduce any negative responses to project actions at a later date and can avoid the “I had no idea about this” response from colleagues.
External input: Include external presenters at meetings where feasible and always have time to discuss other minor matters. Having someone from the strategy/delivery team will help clarify how actions can be broken down into relevant KPIs for your internal delivery system (e.g. Pentana).
Consistent key themes: Arrange Climate Action Group agendas around the key themes you have decided to include in the strategy.
Keep it simple: The process should be kept simple and straightforward. All text should be clear and thematically sound with the use of laymans language for staff and the public to understand what it is, what you are doing and what you require of them.
Visually appealing: The design must be visually appealing with good graphical content and infographics. For example, keep the document in themes with distinct colours and icons. Having a few design formats prepared by a communications team or design consultant is a key part of the process. It's important to ensure stakeholders have input into the design, but avoid complicating the process and limit who has final sign-off.
Slow feedback: Challenges can sometimes arise from internal feedback and support from certain service areas. Some can be slow in providing feedback.
Be prepared for future change: The scope of your GHG emissions boundary will inevitably change over time as you review your footprint and expand it Local Authority area wide. Be prepared for future climate change developments that will influence your strategy and approach. Set aside regular review periods and perhaps refresh the strategy every 5 years.
“This strategy illustrates our firm commitment to mitigating national carbon emissions by supporting the Scottish Government to meet its ambitious climate change targets. As a Council we have already looked at how we use and provide energy; regularly encouraged employees to be more environmentally-friendly; developed biodiversity sites throughout the area and taken steps to manage and reduce the Council-wide carbon footprint. The plan outlined in this strategy will allow us continue making progress on tackling climate change locally as well as supporting national and global aims.” - Councillor Marie McNair, Vice Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development.
- Delivery of the strategy will be managed by the Council's Climate Change Action Group.
- Development of an action plan with a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) process to shape high-level climate change actions for each of the service areas in the council.
- Review of the strategy and action plan annually, with an updated strategy published every five years.
- Engagement internally with staff and the public to shape the Council's approach to climate action and net zero by 2045.
All images belong to West Dunbartonshire Council