Creating local green jobs

Creating local green jobs report
Following the successful completion of the Leading and Learning Programme (L&LP) this report seeks to capture the learnings across all of the individual authorities involved, the process and the outputs from the Action Learning Sets (ALS) and the output from the final symposium. The report includes key individual and collective learnings, key sector-wide learnings and conclusions and recommendations for the LGA to pursue.

Background context – Green Jobs Report

To deliver the substantial change needed in the UK economy by 2050, local government will play a key role in facilitating technology transitions in homes and businesses, informing constituents, supporting local businesses and the upskilling of the local workforce. Whilst the raft of national and local government net zero targets will drive demand for low-carbon goods and services over the coming years, it is crucial that there is a workforce in place to deliver the change needed by 2050.

In 2018, the UK Government projected that the low-carbon economy could grow by 11 per cent per year up to 2030, which is substantially higher than the projected growth rate for the whole economy (estimated at 1-2% per year), illustrating the potential for green growth as driven by international, national, and local climate change targets. While the current COVID-19 pandemic will lower UK economic growth, as the economy recovers, this could ignite and give rise to a greener global future, accelerating and prioritising investment in the UK’s low-carbon sector.

The LGA Green Jobs report (2020) found that in 2018 there were 185,000 full-time workers in England’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy. In 2030 across England there could be as many as 694,000 direct jobs employed in the low-carbon and renewable energy economy, rising to over 1.18 million by 2050.

The Committee for Climate Change 2020 Progress Report noted that the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis; our recovery from it will reshape how we tackle the climate crisis. They claim that choices in the coming months must steer a recovery that drives vital new economic activity, accelerates our transition to net zero and strengthens our resilience to the impacts of climate change. Furthermore, 79 per cent of the UK Climate Assembly said that economic recovery should be designed to achieve net zero.

Central government have made several announcements of late which could help to stimulate green jobs in housing, renewable energy and employment for young people. In local government, we would like to capitalise on these opportunities.

Description of the Leading & Learning Programme

As part of the LGA’s support to councils on the green economic recovery, the LGA offered a selection of local government economic development and climate change officers and Members a chance to come together from a variety of councils to share experiences and learn together, as they progress towards a green economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. These L&LP sessions were based on Action Learning Set (ALS) principles.

Building on the LGA Green Jobs report (2020), the intention was to bring together officers and Members (separately to each other) to work through challenges to find common solutions. Whilst it was assumed that each local situation would be different and have its own challenges, these collective experiences would provide a shared understanding which would be valuable to the sector to inform practice and policy development, and to provide a space for personal reflection and mutual support. This final report captures the shared learning, top tips, case studies and journeys that every council can benefit from.

This programme formed part of the LGA’s sector led improvement programme across both the climate change and economic growth programmes and was aligned with the LGA’s key messages to tackle climate change, protect the environment, and secure global sustainable development.

The audience for the facilitated L&LP sessions was exclusively for officers and Members leading and managing the green economic recovery in their council; however, the audience for the learning that flows from these may be broader and varied based on a case-by-case basis. This will include council partners such a businesses, colleges, and universities.

Programme facilitators

After a competitive tender, the LGA awarded the programme to Transitional Space Ltd. who had previous experience of providing facilitation and leadership training and development, working in partnership with the LGA over many years. Mike Green and Dr Helen Stride co-designed and delivered the programme. Helen and Mike had previously co-facilitated the LGA’s Leadership Essentials: Tackling the Climate Emergency workshop and Mike has designed and facilitated on the LGA’s flagship Leadership Academy for leading members since 2001. Both are experienced facilitators, executive coaches and had considerable experience in facilitating action learning.

Overview of the programme

The LGA’s stated objectives were to:

  • support local government and local areas in their pursuit to recover in a green way from the COVID-19 pandemic (this is not a piece of lobbying work)
  • provide councils across England with tools, skills, opportunities, capability, and challenge to help grow a low carbon and green economy
  • catalyse a network of local partnerships that not only inform the shape of the council’s net zero strategy but help it to be implemented more quickly and cost effectively.

The LGA’s desired outputs were:

  • delivery of a minimum of 24 ‘learning through leadership’ sessions for up to 25 economic and climate change officers (four sessions each for five groups of five officers) and one separate group of approximately five Members (centred around the role of the Councillor), based on Action Learning Set principles, (allowing for flexibility around the timing, length and number of sessions)
  • a clear focus on disseminating the learning in ‘real time’ to the rest of the local government sector and their partners
  • a report summarising the responses to the questions outlined in the scope
  • feedback and actions from the Action Learning Sets to be taken forward.

The role of Transitional Space was to:

  • act as the facilitator to help support the process, reflections and learning outcomes, and maintain an overview of all the groups, and correlated learning
  • provide regular updates on progress, learning, strengths, and insights on how the approach could be improved with the LGA lead officer.

The programme structure sought to:

  • build solid foundations across the Sets through a familiarisation and practice half day workshop
  • establish core action learning principles and a good match of Set members (taking into account disciplines, geographies, diversity, etc)
  • develop personal and collective learning through a programme workbook and journal
  • facilitate five Officer ALSs and one Member ALS (each comprising five people) over a four-month period
  • collect and collate individual, collective and sector-wide learning, ideas and actions which will be disseminated by the LGA and across the sector in real time
  • ground individual, collective and sector-wide learning, ideas, actions and best practice at a half day concluding symposium
  • write and publish a final report collating all information relating to the output from the ALSs and the Symposium together with an evaluation of the action learning process itself
  • work with the LGA client in an effective partnership to ensure the delivery of the programme achieved the stated objectives and outputs.

As officers and members were recruited and worked up their challenges it was agreed that they would fall within the ‘triangle’ of Green Recovery, Green Jobs and Tackling the Climate Emergency.

Action learning methodology

As the LGA describes it “the action learning methodology was key to ‘leading and learning together’”.

Action Learning Sets (ALS) aim to:

  • provide a safe space for officers (and members in separate Sets) to reflect, exchange ideas and curate knowledge
  • create a pathway forward for their council to develop in the area of green economic development
  • form a peer network of mutual support
  • ensure that participants agree the key messages and share the learning across the sector in a sensitive, appropriate and timely manner to support local areas nationally.

Format of the programme

Half day Action Learning familiarisation workshop

Although it has just a few simple rules, Action Learning methodology does require a shift in mindset and behaviours by participants in order for everyone to maximise the benefits.

Therefore, there was a half day ‘familiarisation’ workshop which ensured a shared understanding of the methodology and also provided initial practice of some of the core skills (clear objective setting, active listening and the asking of powerful questions).

One of the outputs of the initial workshop was the commitment of participants to engage with the reflective practice of keeping a learning journal. Participants in the ALSs were asked to give serious thought to developing a framing of their initial individual challenge around Green Jobs as well as developing an inquiry into what the sector might need to be asking and answering. The LGA had generated a list of key questions (see appendix A), generated by officer and member discussion groups, which helped frame delegates’ challenges.

Reflective Practice and Learning Journal and Programme Workbook

Programme members were provided with an integrated learning journal and programme workbook where they could capture questions, ideas, suggestions, commitment to actions together with their cumulative learnings along the way. In addition, the journal and workbook provided space to capture the learnings from their ALS colleagues’ challenges and also sector-wide proposals.

The workbook also contains information on the action learning methodology including guides to developing the key skills of objective setting, active listening, asking powerful questions, etcetera. (see a sample in Appendix D).

Action Learning Set sessions

Given the breadth and depth of the individual officers’ and members’ challenges each Set met virtually for anything between a morning and a whole day so that adequate time and space was given to each individual challenge. From experience, where there is an ongoing challenge, or where programme members may come with multiple challenges, there was an allowance of up to 45 minutes per person.

Each Action Learning Set session generally was comprised of the following:

  • initial check-in, recommitment to rules and agreement to order of presentation
  • three, four or five 35 - 45 minute presentations with accompanying support and challenge and commitment to action, interspersed with comfort breaks and time for lunch
  • the session finished with a plenary where the focus was on identifying individual learnings, learnings from others’ challenges and sector-wide learnings, ideas, suggestions
  • post-session the facilitator collected and collated all relevant information and wrote a synthesis for wider dissemination across the LGA network.

Each individual presentation was generally shaped similar to the following:

  • 5 - 10 minute presentation of the individual’s challenge
  • 20 - 30 minutes asking powerful questions and active listening
  • 5 - 10 minute commitment to action by presenter.

In the second and subsequent action learning sessions presenters had the opportunity to update Set colleagues on progress made with the initial challenge and, importantly, capture the learnings contained within it.

Each individual Action Learning Set had the opportunity to flex the structure, style and timings of their sessions within certain agreed parameters (for example – maximum overall time commitment). This was particularly relevant for the elected members, but more generally for some officers, as the programme spanned the local elections, which were more than usual due to cancellations of some during 2020.

Between ALS Sessions

Having formed coherent small groups, many Sets communicated between sessions, for instance, circulating links to resources or funding opportunities which had emerged since the previous meeting.

Action Learning, as a methodology, discourages the direct dissemination of information, or the giving of advice. However because of the enormity of the challenge; the complexity of the issues; and the inter-connectedness of the causes and the potential solutions - ranging across multiple dimensions of society and nature and the economy - specific ‘technical’ issues arose requiring ‘expert’ content input. Two webinars were developed and run – one on housing retrofitting and one of the management of change and influencing skills. Again, blogs based on the webinars were written and disseminated across the sector (see Appendix C for more information).

Final half day Leading and Learning Symposium

As an effective way of both grounding and disseminating the learning for all those involved in the formal part of the programme came to an end at a ½ day symposium where individual, collective and sector-wide learnings were captured, with each ALS presenting their individual challenges and learnings from the process.

The workshop cemented the collaborative network nature of the programme for people’s onward journeys.

Delegates’ case studies and blogs

Each delegate committed to writing up their experiences of the action learning process and the progress that they made on their individual challenges, together with their action plans for progressing the challenge over the coming year. Individual case studies or blogs have been collated in Appendix B of this report.

Green Jobs Report

The project is grounded in a piece of research conducted by Ecuity consulting in collaboration with the LGA. The research culminated in a report entitled Local Green Jobs: Accelerating a sustainable economic recovery referenced in the introduction to this L&L report.

Having discussed in the introduction, projected figures for the percentage increase in the size of the ‘green economy’ and the overall number of ‘green jobs’ that will be created, this section looks at the specific sectors and geographical regions where the increases will take place.

Green Jobs by sectors

2021 – 2030 (taken from Green Jobs Report)

  • It is estimated that ‘46% of the total low-carbon jobs by 2030 will be in clean electricity generation and providing low-carbon heat for homes and businesses. These jobs will range from manufacturing wind turbines, deploying solar PV, constructing nuclear reactors, installing heat pumps, and maintaining energy-system infrastructure.’
  • Approximately ‘21% of jobs by 2030 will be involved in installing energy efficiency products ranging from insulation, lighting and control systems.’
  • And ‘around 19% of jobs in 2030 will be involved in providing low-carbon services (financial, legal and IT) and producing alternative fuels such as bioenergy and hydrogen.’
  • Finally, ‘a further 14% of jobs will be directly involved in manufacturing low-emission vehicles and the associated infrastructure.’

Between 2030 and 2050, the low-carbon workforce in England could increase by a further 488,569, taking the total level of jobs to over 1.18 million by 2050.

Green Jobs by regions

Whilst ‘green jobs’ in some sectors (e.g. energy creation from wind and nuclear, car manufacturing and producing alternative fuels such as hydrogen and biofuels) will clearly be region specific, prior to 2030 the report suggests that many of the ‘green jobs’ will be created across the country (e.g. deploying solar PV, installing heat pumps and energy efficiency products, and creating a low emissions vehicle infrastructure). These clearly present a significant short – term opportunity for most LAs across England.

In terms of longer-term planning (2030 – 2050), the Green Jobs Report makes projections based on current trends which LAs need to be cognisant of. For example, the services sector supporting the green transition, is likely to gravitate towards London and the Southeast as this is where expertise already exists. The same principle will apply to the North of England and its expertise ‘around generation, storage, and low carbon technologies’. Car manufacturing on the other hand is likely to continue to be based in the Midlands for similar reasons. The Report adds that ‘by 2035 South Yorkshire and East/West Midlands, and East London could have hydrogen production and distribution facilities deployed’.     

Therefore, whilst the following table of ‘emerging skills gaps’ is useful for reference purposes as LAs decide where to focus their time and budgets in relation to green jobs creation, it should be viewed with the above in mind.

Emerging skills gaps table

Learning and Leading Together Programme: Phase 1 (Feb-Mar 2021)

This report will now turn to the learnings from the Action Learning Sets (ALS). The final number of delegates who took part was 20, divided between five Action Learning Sets. The process that was adopted and the schedule are outlined in previous sections. 

To summarise the learnings from each of the three phases of the Programme, the qualitative methodology of ‘coding’ was used both to reduce the information from the discussions and then to identify common themes and patterns that emerged. This approach was applied to transcripts from the discussions that took place during the ALS as well as to the written submissions from delegates following a period of reflection after each of the sessions.

Action Learning Process

Before exploring the key issues that emerged from the discussions that took place during Phase 1 of the L&LP it is useful to mention the role that the Action Learning process played in generating these discussions. When asked, the delegates referred to the following principles:

  • it encouraged reflection
  • and collaborative learning
  • it challenged existing ideas
  • it offered new perspectives and helped to shape new ways of thinking
  • and it provided focus.

The AL process also provided an opportunity to implement ideas between sessions. Below are the key learnings that resulted from this process.

Definition of Green Economic Growth

During the first phase of the L&LP it became clear that there were issues around the definition of the terms being used. What is green growth, for example? And what is a green recovery? For the purposes of the project, the definition for Green Economic Growth was taken from the Green Jobs Report. It is aligned with the UK Government’s view that the low-carbon and renewable energy economy consists of the following industries, low-carbon and renewable energy economy sectors, and key sub-sectors:

  • Low-carbon electricity: Wind power, solar PV, hydropower, nuclear, CCS
  • Low-carbon heat: Renewable heat, heat networks and CHP
  • Alternative fuel: Bioenergy and hydrogen production
  • Energy efficient products: Insulation, lighting, monitoring and control systems
  • Low-carbon services: Low-carbon financial, IT, and advisory services
  • Low-emission vehicles & infrastructure: Low-emission vehicles & infrastructure, fuel cells and energy storage systems

Types of Challenges

As mentioned in the blog that was written at the end of Phase 1, the challenges that delegates first presented at their ALS were varied.

Whilst some delegates discussed challenges that were linked to issues outlined in the Green Jobs Report, such as retrofitting housing stock and buildings, others were either broader in nature – such as developing a sustainable economic strategy or ALSs may have reflected the make-up of the cohort, including as it did both Climate Change and Economic Development officers.

Retrofitting, working with businesses both to reduce carbon and build capacity, and developing a green economic strategy were the most common issues, being mentioned by over half of the cohort. 

Building an understanding of the climate crisis

Whilst the overall level of knowledge of the climate crisis seemed relatively high, some delegates expressed concern that they were not sufficiently well informed. Given the breadth of the challenges being considered it was important, therefore, to ensure that everyone had the necessary baseline of knowledge needed to address the issues that they were tackling. To achieve this, the Transitional Space team circulated to all delegates a selection of resources.

A video link for Ted talks by Johan Rockstrom from the Stockholm Centre for Resilience was included in the first blog. Rockstrom is a leading climate change scientist and delivers complex messages and data in an accessible and engaging way.

As the climate emergency is the most urgent element of a complex environmental crisis, the Transitional Space team also circulated important reports on the degradation of biodiversity, and eco-systems:

In conclusion, it is suggested that given the rapid changes taking place, keeping oneself informed must be seen as a key requirement of any Member or Climate Change or Economic Development officer.

Scope, Targets and Measurement 

One theme that was regularly discussed was how to scope and measure the challenges being considered. Several of the ALS members reported that a key learning from the questioning they received was the need to break down their challenge into manageable aims and objectives and to identify an ‘achievable [objective] for the purpose of the ALS’ over the four months of the Programme. The components of this theme (i.e. scope, targets, measurement) naturally sit within a strategic planning framework. Developing a green economic strategy was identified by several Set members as the primary focus of their challenge. The following list of appropriate sustainable, strategic models that are freely available were circulated to all delegates:

Building Relationships with Stakeholders

The multiplicity of stakeholders and how to engage with them was a consistent theme in all the ALSs. Nearly all, if not all, of the challenges required a plan for stakeholder identification, stakeholder mapping and stakeholder engagement.

It is generally accepted that the complexity and urgency of the climate crisis necessitates a collaborative approach where interested parties must work in partnership with each other. Phase One of the AL process made it clear that little can be changed without the support of stakeholders such as colleagues, neighbouring councils, colleges, schools, businesses and perhaps most importantly the local community. Not only do LAs need to work with these stakeholder groups, but in sitting at the heart of local communities, LAs can play a critical role in building networks and facilitating the change needed.

Learning and Leading Together Programme: Phase 2 (Mar – Apr 2021)

By Phase 2 of the L&LP, the remit had been broadened to include challenges that did not fall within the Green Economic Recovery as defined in the Green Jobs Report. It now covered all challenges that fell within the following triangle:

Green Recovery – Green Jobs – Tackling the Climate Emergency

It had also become clear by the start of Phase 2, that it was not going to be possible to create green jobs within the four-month L&LP programme, but that instead the Programme would be useful for laying the foundations for creating green jobs. It was suggested therefore that the measurement of success would need to be broadened beyond the number of green jobs created. The programme would instead be judged in terms of:

  • supporting delegates to explore complex challenges
  • to help delegates refine and define their challenges
  • deciding what could be realistically achieved
  • helping to identify key stakeholders
  • starting to build the skills and capacity needed for green economic development
  • starting to catalyse partnerships.

In conclusion, whilst the Green Jobs Report provided excellent data within which to ground the L&LP, some of the challenges that the delegates brought to the programme fell outside of its remit. This presented the Programme with its own challenge as outlined above. Information on the broader environmental issues that we are all facing was useful for filling any gaps in the knowledge of the cohort members. The AL principles of ‘questioning’ and ‘reflection’ proved to be beneficial from an early stage in helping delegates to shape their thinking and to give their challenges focus. Delegates also acknowledged during Phase 1, that little was going to be achieved without the support of a range of different stakeholder groups.    

ALSs Phase 2 – Introduction

Refining challenges and creating an achievable plan 

As discussed in Blog 2, delegates had used the ALS process to reflect on comments made by fellow group members to re-evaluate and refine their challenges. In most cases, delegates recognised that their challenges had either been too broad or not sufficiently well defined for the purposes of the programme. For example, one delegate specifically acknowledged the complexity of his challenge and the resulting obstacles that would need to be overcome. Other examples can be found in Blog 2.

Phase 2 – Learnings

Stakeholders

The critical role of a range of stakeholders in helping delegates achieve their challenges, continued to be discussed at length during Phase 2.

Many of the delegates reported how they had started to engage with internal stakeholders. One had conducted a staff workshop to create a staff charter in their bid to help change the culture. Another delegate described how they had enlisted the support of the Economic Lead to better understand skills gaps, training needs and government funding. Others began to build internal capacity by either actively enlisting the support of other teams or by exploring the use of an apprenticeship scheme.     

Tensions relating to internal stakeholders had also started to arise. For one delegate, they felt that it was difficult to get buy-in from fellow officers. For another, political tensions had begun to surface with one delegate questioning whether it would be possible to gain real commitment to tackling the climate crisis.

A range of external stakeholders had also been contacted. One delegate had started to work with a network of ‘anchor’ institutions such as NHS and Further Education (F.E.) colleges to encourage for example ‘green’ procurement. Whist F.E. colleges were mentioned by several delegates in their quest to build skills and capacity, in at least two cases colleges were found to be unwilling to engage when asked about training courses for the green economy. 

The significant skills shortage for retrofitting houses and for installing heat pumps meant that any resistance from F.E. colleges to offer courses in these areas was seen by the delegates to be particularly problematic. With the number of heat pump engineers having declined from 2,000 to 800 in recent years, some delegates reported that there was no capacity at all in their area for installing heat pumps.

The following link proved to be useful in providing delegates with a list of 17 recognised providers of retrofitting training.

Apply for free or subsidised training under the Green Homes Grant skills training competition scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Technical webinars

Two technical webinars were delivered during the course of the programme:

  • Retrofitting (April 9 2021) 
  • Change and influencing skills (April 14 2021)         

The above topics were requested by the ALS delegates and provided a deep dive into subjects which needed some further expertise and support to address their challenges (see Appendix C).

Communication

The importance of communication was becoming apparent during Phase 2 with at least one delegate reporting that they felt it was ‘key’ to their success. For another delegate, the creation of a communication strategy, first with businesses and then with the wider community, had become the focus of their challenge. While it was deemed to be important by some to use communications to create a sense of urgency in relation to the climate crisis, others felt that it was important to move away from the notion of ‘project fear’ to ‘project opportunity’.

Data

Another theme that emerged during Phase 2 discussions was the importance of making evidence-based decisions through the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data. For some delegates, the importance of using data to drive the decisions was clearly something they had learnt from others in their group.   

By Phase 2, the remit of the Programme had been broadened to include challenges that fell not only within the remit of the Green Jobs Report, but that were also linked to the climate crisis more generally. Given the time constraints, the success criteria of the Programme were also changed. Instead of being judged according to the number of green jobs created, the Programme would lay the foundations by allowing delegates to refine and define complex challenges, set realistic targets, and start to catalyse a broad range of partnerships. It was at this stage that the chronic skills shortage relating to retrofitting and heat pump installation, were identified. Finally, the importance of communication and data collection were touched upon.

Learning and Leading Together Programme: Phase 3 (Apr - May 2021)

As the L&LP drew to a close, delegates were asked to submit the following:    

  • A SMART action plan
  • Individual reflections
  • A case study or blog

Two individual coaching sessions with one of the Transitional Space facilitators were offered to all delegates to assist in their achieving these deliverables.

Bio-Regional – One Planet Living, Action Planning (OPL)

To assist delegates in developing their Action Plans they were given information about Bio-Regional’s, One Planet Living Action Planning process (first introduced in Blog 1). Some delegates also took advantage of one-to-one coaching sessions to work on their plans.

The benefits of using the OPL framework to develop a ‘green’ strategy are numerous:

  • Its ten principles provide a holistic process for tacking all environmental challenges. Whilst they may not all currently be relevant to delegates, they act as a ‘reminder’ of the breadth of this challenge and the dimensions that eventually will need to be addressed, as well as the interconnectedness of climate change issues.
  • The framework has been developed by Bio-regional over 25 years and emerged from the successful creation of their eco village in South London.
  • It provides a simple guide to analysing the context, to develop broad outcomes (or objectives), to create SMART action plans and to identify ways for monitoring success. 

Almost without exception, everyone produced a thoughtful and coherent summary of what they intended to do post the Leading and Learning Programme. Although delegates were at different stages in their planning, most delegates were able to communicate the outline of a short-term plan. A few presented comprehensive plans - some over a longer period, with more than one outcome - clearly showing what actions were to be taken, by when and by whom. Others, however, felt the need to use the time to first conduct a comprehensive contextual analysis. Examples of these can be found in the Appendices. 

Reflections – Symposium (May 2021)

By Phase 3 of the programme, the benefits of the Action Learning process identified in Phases 1 & 2 were clearly being reinforced. The benefits mentioned by delegates were: 

  • it encouraged reflection
  • and collaborative learning
  • it challenged existing ideas
  • it offered new perspectives and helped to shape new ways of thinking
  • it provided focus.

Delegates reported that the questioning process continued to clarify and deepen their thinking, the importance of collaboration was becoming clearer, and the regular meetings had ensured that time was set aside to focus on a single issue. Delegates were also asked to reflect on their learnings from the entire L&L programme in preparation for the Symposium on 13 May 2021. Below is an abridged version of these learnings. For the full set of learnings please see Blog 3.

Challenges

Delegates had clearly found it useful to work with a cross-disciplinary group of people who not only brought new perspectives and knowledge but were also facing similar challenges. At an overarching level, delegates mentioned that there were similar challenges around resources – both financial and people related – around political challenges – with both a small ‘p’ and a large ‘P’ - and in dealing with the scale of the environmental crisis. Against this background it is perhaps not surprising that delegates seemed to find it invaluable to hear about the types of green challenges that others were facing, providing them with a better understanding of the scale of the environmental challenges faced by the sector.

Delegates valued the extensive knowledge and experience that others brought to the ALSs – with one delegate observing that there was clearly a wealth of expertise across the sector that should be tapped into. Another observation relating to task, that should not be overlooked, is the importance of communication. Whilst this programme provided only limited time to develop any sort of communication strategy, the critical importance of having a ‘robust’ communication plan and of ‘tailoring’ one’s message, came to light. On a more specific level, the following quote sums up how many delegates were feeling about the apparent shortage of skills to address the different challenges:  

What has come through is the importance throughout all the work on climate change is future skills requirements and the need to equip people and businesses with the knowledge and skills needed for a new economy’

Process  

Delegates found that the proactive thinking that was needed from answering questions rather than the passive approach that comes from being given the answer, helped to challenge their assumptions and deepen their thinking. Having to ask questions was also beneficial. One delegate observed how it required a different type of listening and a different level of concentration, allowing them to be present for the other person but also to absorb more of what was being said. Another mentioned that it gives ‘all people equal opportunity to speak’.

The reflective element of Action Learning was also valued by many. Some acknowledged the need, going forward, to set aside time to reflect and review. On a more practical level, the ALSs provided some structure and focus for tackling challenges – a date in the diary when delegates were granted permission to devote time to focusing on just one issue. The teams clearly offered emotional as well as practical support. Delegates reported that the ALSs provided a ‘safe’ environment to explore their issues where people were ‘open and honest’ and prepared to learn new ways of doing things. Another said what a privilege it had been to ‘have been listened to and to have listened to such a thoughtful group of people’. Perhaps one of the most important observations made, was that the AL process is empowering, allowing people to come up with their own answers to the challenge that they face.  

Individual Learning

Under the ‘individual’ learnings heading, we are trying to move away from what people thought about their experience, to how they felt about it. The relatively limited observations made under this heading suggest some reluctance to explore experiences – perhaps work experiences – from an emotional perspective. That notwithstanding, many people said how supported and stimulated they had felt during the programme and how they had grown in confidence. One individual concluded by saying that the programme had been ‘thought provoking from the beginning right through until the end’. Another acknowledged that in thinking more deeply and in listening more intently she had in fact ‘grown’ at a personal level.

Delegates talked about having had an ‘epiphany’ about the climate crisis and of having become ‘evangelical’ about the process that had been used. Others said that the LAs are having to be pioneers in addressing the climate crisis whilst another finished by highlighting the passion that LAs have to drive through the change that is necessary.           

This has undoubtedly been a powerful programme for the 20 delegates who took part. In addition to developing Action Plans for creating ‘green jobs’ the process appears to have had some profound effects on how people think and on how they see themselves. It has brought new perspectives and knowledge, and new ways to tackle challenges. This in turn has helped delegates to develop a shared understanding of the challenges faced by the LA sector. Delegates also reported that the act of answering questions helped them to challenge assumptions and that together with periods of reflection, it deepened their own thinking. The team members have clearly provided emotional support to each other and a safe space for some self-exploration. This in turn appears to have led to an increase in self- confidence and self-awareness. Delegates have also experienced a new, respectful way to work as teams, bringing out the best in themselves and in others.  

Summary Conclusions and Recommendations   

  • The initial objective of the L&LP was to bring together Members and officers to consider challenges that were linked, directly or indirectly, to the Green Economic Recovery. To accommodate the wide range of challenges presented by the members of the L&L cohort, the parameters of the Programme were extended. Instead of limiting it to the definition of Green Economic Recovery as outlined in the Green Jobs Report, it included issues relating to the Climate Change emergency more generally.
  • Acknowledging that time constraints would prevent delegates from creating green jobs during the Programme, it was suggested that instead the Programme could lay the foundations for future job creation.
  • The success criteria were therefore also changed to helping delegates to refine complex challenges, to set realistic goals and to start to catalyse partnerships. As outlined above, the Programme successfully achieved these new objectives.
  • Given the importance placed in the Green Jobs Report on heat pump installation and the creation of energy efficient products across all LAs, the focus placed on building skills and capacity in these areas will prove to be of particular significance.
  • In terms of the challenges explored, one of the main themes to emerge was the need to scope the projects and to set realistic targets. To help with this, several suitable strategic frameworks were given to the group.
  • Throughout the Programme, stakeholders – both internal and external – were seen to be of critical importance in helping delegates achieve their various challenges. Delegates recognised the need to get buy-in from colleagues if they were to be successful in addressing their challenge. They also acknowledged that tackling the climate crisis would require collaboration and cooperation with a wide range of external stakeholders.   
  • Whilst the importance of ‘communication’ and ‘data’ collection were mentioned as outlined above, the time constraints of the L&LP meant that neither of these crucial elements were explored in full.
  • The Programme has also successfully applied and benefited from the principles of Action Learning. It clearly brought new perspectives and knowledge for the delegates, it helped them to challenge their assumptions and deepen their own thinking. Delegates experienced a new, respectful way to work as teams, bringing out the best in everyone. 

Appendix A - Key themes/questions to frame the challenges

Objectives

The objectives of the programme are to:

  • Support local government and local areas in their pursuit of a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Provide councils across England with tools, skills, opportunities, capability, support and challenge to help grow a low carbon and green economy; and
  • Catalyse a network of local partnerships that not only inform the shape of the council’s net zero strategy, but also help it to be implemented more quickly and cost effectively

Overarching questions

  • How do we create a vision with councils on what a green economic recovery looks like for their area?
  • What skills and capacity does a council need to develop and create in order to reach this vision?
  • Which experiences and knowledge can be exchanged to benefit the whole group and beyond?
  • What issues or situations are causing blockers and what strategies and practical steps can be identified to overcome them?

Use of data

  • How can councils use the LGA green jobs report to progress to a low carbon economy in their area?
  • Which green jobs might be cultivated in their own area? These may include jobs in renewable energy, low carbon heat and electricity, carbon neutral homes, engineering, biodiversity, decarbonising existing fleet, the low carbon automotive industry, manufacturing, and new low carbon technologies.
  • Can we as councils create a business case to support the development of green jobs in our communities?

Leveraging opportunities

  • How can councils leverage opportunities presented to them for green recovery? For example, the Kickstart scheme, renewable (wind farms) energy scheme and the green homes grant.
  • Are there opportunities for councils as employers themselves?
  • Can we learn from how councils delivered at pace during the coronavirus emergency to find better and faster ways to respond to the climate emergency?

Leadership of place/working with partners

  • How can councils use their leadership of place role to recover in a green economic way from COVID-19?
  • What is the role of councils as organisations to create green jobs? What can practically be done by local government, and with partners?
  • How can councils work with partners including local employers, businesses, schools, colleges and universities to create green jobs in the local area?
  • Can councils play a leadership role through developing a plan to encourage and support low carbon businesses?
  • How can I engage with central government to use funding for skills?
  • What roles can different local leaders take in green economic recovery:
    • The role of the Mayoral Combined Authorities
    • The Council Leader
    • Cabinet
    • Officers
    • Business leaders
    • Voluntary and community sector
    • The Community

Skills and employment

  • What is the profile of the local workforce, particularly local sectors/jobs impacted by COVID-19?
  • How can a council officer find out what the skills need is to create green jobs in their area?
  • What is the gap between current skills, education and training and where the community would need to be if they were to have x amount of green jobs?
  • What interventions or support will most likely be taken up by local actors?
  • What resources are required to deliver these interventions (including financial resources, personnel, and collaborations with local partner networks)?
  • For example:
    • Can councils create a programme of training and recruitment support designed to enable rapid transition into sustainable employment?
    • Can councils and their partners train and retrain apprentices and the wider adult community to be skilled up for green jobs?
    • How can apprenticeships be created to build skills for green jobs?
    • How can skills be developed through volunteering?
    • How do we support councils to skill up their communities into green jobs?
    • How do we create jobs in the circular economy?
    • How do you deliver retraining to your community, at scale?
    • How do you reach the harder to reach communities and provide equality of opportunity?
    • How do we encourage inward investment in the local area? For example, in hydrogen generation plants near transport production centres, improving the supply chain, digital technology, the energy technology sector, renewable energy generation and so on.

Equality/climate justice

  • How do we ensure a just transition from the pandemic?
  • How can we ensure that the economic downturn does not disproportionately affect those who are more socially disadvantaged?

The challenges to a green economic recovery

  • Capacity and focus of senior management and elected Members (given that there are many competing demands)
  • Lack of engagement with residents and partners due to the pandemic’s emergency response
  • Ensuring that the green economic recovery is being addressed holistically across all council services
  • Large scale road building programmes and airport expansion being seen as part of economic recovery
  • Different challenges will be experienced by different councils, depending on their geography (region, urban, rural), size and type of council.
  • The economic recovery being prioritised over the green one
  • Not having a clear vision for the area on what a green economic recovery looks like
  • Lack of money
  • Unsure on how to tackle the first post COVID-19 council budget that addresses green economic recovery – what does that need to include and exclude?

Sustainable support

  • How do we make this support sustainable/provide longevity to it, and it not just be a COVID-19 recovery piece?
  • What are a council’s opportunities for action moving forward?
  • How do you measure the impact from this work?

Appendix B - Individual case studies and blogs

The purpose of the programme was for individual delegates from a range of authorities to enrol on the programme to identify, refine, and then progress a challenge that would be beneficial to their authority and community, and that of others, within the frame of creating green jobs, aiding a green recovery and tackling the climate emergency.

The programme was constructed in a way that delegates would also learn from their action Set colleagues and those across the whole cohort. In addition, they would also learn and gain knowledge from the two technical webinars run.

This section is a collation of the individual challenges that officers and members tackled.


Bristol City Council

The L&L Together – creating green jobs course with LGA and Transitional Space

I was delighted to see, early in 2021, that the LGA was offering a programme focused on ‘creating green jobs’. As a Green councillor this is exactly the sort of development work I felt was needed. While we talk about building back better and new green jobs I’ve had many thoughts about not only what we can do for our communities but also how we develop the new jobs of the future that are useful and most beneficial.

I applied, though was concerned that the programme was for ‘leaders’. Although, as Greens, we were in opposition, we do strive to lead the agenda and propose positive ideas that can be adopted. We do seek to influence and lead soon, however, and I asked if I could get a place on that basis.

Successful in gaining a place I already had a fairly formed idea of what I wanted to explore: my project was about the need for Green Jobs and the Green New Deal to achieve climate justice and wider sustainable development goals by ensuring maximum local benefits as well as to the climate from carbon saving. This was based on my experience of discussions and briefings about Bristol’s City Leap initiative.

It’s a much delayed carbon saving programme that is seeking around £1billion in investment to develop new carbon saving infrastructure and programmes for the city. It's an ambitious scheme building on many previous renewable energy and energy-saving projects over many years. I’ve been a supporter and actively engaged with the development of the idea, but also anxious that some local grassroots projects and wider benefits would be missed or negated if the whole package of city leap project gets handed over to an international investor with no local roots in the community.

In my view, outsourcing projects and signing over local energy assets to the eventual winner of a complex and slow procurement process would be a loss to the city. I’d like to see carbon saving and local wealth creation go hand in hand. Many years ago as part of the Bristol Energy Network, a group of dozens of local energy initiatives including some who have created new and innovative infrastructure in the city, I helped draft its Bristol Community Strategy for Energy, a statement of values and asks designed to ensure recognition for local skills, jobs, shared responsibility and control, education, advice and wider benefits. This has been used to ensure some support for some community owned assets like a wind farm and solar farm in the city.

I also have a background, pre-councillor days, in local, national and European policy development for sustainability and this included being author of the Government’s Public procurement toolkit for social enterprises [DTI, 2003]. In my view we need a more localised effort at procurement, ensuring that knowledge, skills, and a stake in carbon saving projects are enhanced at a local level where possible. My aim in this approach has been to develop a response to large scale carbon saving that builds community wealth.

As we got going I soon saw the approach being taken was quite unusual for a local government programme. An action learning, participant-focused emphasis: inquiry, questioning, and mutual support. I’ve undertaken action learning before so I wasn’t phased, but it did mean a slightly slow start I think, and the number of councillors in the programme, along side a majority of officers, was relatively small. We saw little of the officers as we formed a single politicians’ sub group. I found it fairly easy to frame and suggest lines of inquiry that prompted self reflection and deeper clarification by other participants. My sector experience and policy background probably helped.

As I explained my challenge and my initial focus was finding support for my approach: the need for evidence of multiple benefits and a social value approach to procurement –something I have promoted locally and nationally in the DTI toolkit [DTI, 2003]. One learning I soon made is how slim the focus is on this approach in conventional projects, and how little joined up thinking there is often. I’ve taken part in community wealth building workshops but they were quite generic [for example, the need for regional banking; the so-called Preston approach] with little about carbon saving, except the work of groups like Community Energy England. 

As a Green the supportive aspect of the team process resonated with me.  It was straightforward, despite some frustrations about the very different amounts of experience among the group. The collaborative approach fits with Green ways of doing things: cross party, partnership working, and constructive.

It didn’t take long to realise I had a lot of knowledge in the field in many ways – being less of a layperson due to my policy background. I found I gave quite a bit of support to others’ learning but to some extent felt I needed a deeper guide into the literature and the field itself. Serendipitously, a research report was published by two local consultants and practitioners in the energy field on the case for more community led and devolved approaches to major carbon saving projects in Bristol’s City Leap. This was really helpful as it showed that I wasn’t a lone voice in the opposition seeking to shift the direction of the international procurement process, but part of a movement for local wealth building allied to the myriad of necessary carbon saving projects. I was conscious that lead contractors often talk up the subcontracting but then take most profit for themselves; sometimes with barely a new cover over a report they bought in cheaply and resold dear; sometimes offering a nod to local community involvement but only as so-called ‘bid candy’. I’m now talking to groups about how to ‘lock in’ any commitments to work with grassroots energy projects in the city when the council procurement is completed.

A third phase in the programme was the pace of political change – witness the 10 asks for candidates: bristolenergynetwork.org. I’d started out in a third largest party opposition group. This was of course an influencing role. I then sought evidence and this was furnished by the research. However, as the local election got underway, and my time got consumed by re-election work, the agenda in the city started to include the need for a green recovery and serious action to tackle climate change. While community wealth building wasn’t explicit part of a green recovery the need for city wide retrofitting plans, and for tackling climate change were talked about a lot more than ever before. The agenda has clearly moved on.

The election outcome, with a massive swing to Greens - 11 members becoming 24 - was heartening, as well as overwhelming! So was the fact the report had come out while we were working on this programme, and the engagement we now expect from local groups in the city agenda and in the light of political change.

A new dimension for me at the same time is that I’m offering mentoring through the LGA and to new colleagues so some of my learnings from the Action Learning process as well as the issues I’d focused on are now more topical and relevant than ever.

A few final points in summary and by way of feedback to LGA:

  • I’m delighted the LGA offered support through this programme;
  • The focus on ‘asking powerful questions’ and action learning are not new to me but it was a very useful approach to go through in depth;
  • The focus on framing questions, not giving advice, nor seeking knowledge and expertise is unusual – though we did have some conventional webinar teaching and expertise inputs during the programme, and that was a good mix;
  • I’m sure that the sector and members in particular would benefit from a future programme that focuses on how the work can be applied in councils of different stages in such agendas as Green Jobs and who is doing what and where do different approaches work with multiple benefits and social priorities alongside carbon and economic development.

Cllr Martin Fodor, Bristol.


Buckinghamshire Council

My experience of being a Councillor is one of being a performing juggler – a blog

I walk on to the stage with difficulty as I have one foot in a bucket of very thick mud, when I get to the spotlight I sit on a firm but comfortable chair and I start performing in front of a live audience, there are no dress rehearsals. Around me there are other Cabinet members doing the same sort of thing so I have to use ears and my voice to listen to what is going on around me and talk in a competitive way but realising that each of us have an important part to play in the performance and while all this is going on we have got to keep the public’s attention and appreciation.

I am sitting on the chair because that is my base and my family support, taking on some of my work but if it is taken away it would result in me collapsing in a heap to the floor.

It is as if three of my limbs are performing but my right leg is in a bucket of very thick sludge – that right leg represents those who like where they are and do not want to change and although these people are still good people they resist all change and move very slowly.

My left leg is balancing a ball which makes sure you work across all areas keeping an overall balance of life, work, play and family.

One arm has three revolving rings representing the cycle of meetings, keeping fellow members informed and the third ring represents your residents who you represent whether they voted for you or not. You are their advocator and I am their link in a two way communication with the Council when needed.

Your final limb is the interesting one, it is a very nimble hand that is juggling balls. The more balls the more things you are dealing with, they could be your Cabinet role, working up new policies and putting all the background detail behind those policies.

You are not in front of the audience for four minutes, but for four years.

If you dare look to the wings you see another ball winging its way towards you, you cannot drop one, you just make sure that all these balls stay in the air and of course they are different sizes representing their different priorities. 

In my case those balls are:

  • Waste, spanning from dog bins and litter right across the spectrum to putting all our non recycling rubbish through an incinerator which produces enough electricity for 40,000 homes and putting less than 1% into landfill. Yes, it does produce Carbon Dioxide but if you put it into landfill you are producing methane which is twenty times worse. We now put less than 1% of waste into landfill and most of that is inert;
  • Putting through a Climate Change Strategy that will get us to Carbon Neutral by the latest date of 2050 but if we can achieve it earlier so much the better;
  • Planting a tree for each citizen in Buckinghamshire, that is around 550,000 trees over the next ten years;
  • Enhancing the biodiversity of the County by rewilding or diversity banks; and
  • Doing my local Councillor role at the same time

So my story is all about constantly moving forward, learning along the way and being aware of what is approaching well beyond the horizon so I am well prepared when it comes into sight.

So I asked to join this course to learn more about green jobs and how I can pass on that knowledge so it is being recognised in everyday work of the Council. Joining this course I soon realised that the picture around the Country on climate change was varied and different.

In my own case I have got it up the agenda in a corporate way, we are discussing the subject of green jobs with our colleges and Bucks Business First and with the Local Enterprise Board. I have dates in my diary for reporting back but waiting to see if I am continuing in my Cabinet role.

My slant was on how to get this being talked and actioned upon across the whole Council.

Coming out of lockdown making sure that green jobs and climate change are never forgotten and is prioritised in the post epidemic, and was included in any plans for bringing the County back to something like the new normal.

The way we have listened and talked about each of our areas we want to achieve has widened all of our knowledge on this subject, whether it be retrofitting our houses, as members who are in the majority party, minority groups, how we want things to change and how to do it, we also are recognising that although it is one large subject, it means different changes in different parts of the country and different actions between our cities, towns and countryside, including the way we need farming to change to be more environmentally aware of their ways of working.

I have become more aware of my knowledge and listening to new ideas and sharing my experiences over the years.

What has surprised me is that it is the old adage that if you want something done you ask a busy person and all of us on this course have tried to attend along the way whilst we are still doing our normal business.

I have found the course rewarding and it stretched our knowledge across the members of it. My father used to tell me, you have two ears and one voice so use them in that order and I have found this advice invaluable on this course, the atmosphere was one of respect and sharing our thoughts and experiences.

I found that although we came from across the spectrum of politics we respected each others’ opinion, circumstances and experiences. We have learned that green jobs will increase by five-fold over the next 30 years but to the public these green jobs is a second division subject. The majority of the public do not know the detail of what is required in their own circumstances, there is a denial to the need to reduce car travel and changing their cars for electric. The car industry needs to bring down the cost of the new generation of green cars. Many people are very worried about changing their gas boiler and move over to alternatives, ground sources are ugly and involved a major upheaval. We have got to recognise that to change over could mean destroying beautiful gardens and patios.

Buckinghamshire has just come through an election and starting a completely new Unitary Council made up of 147 Councillors of which half are new Councillors that have just entered the political arena.

We are at a stage of knowing the new Leader but no one else, this is after a year of the transition Council being made up of 196 members of the five Councils (four District and one County) in lockdown and achieving success through “Teams” meetings.  

The new Council is made up of 113 Conservatives, 15 Lib Dems, six Independents, six Wycombe Independents, four Labour, two Independent Network and one Green.

I have enjoyed all of the members’ and officers’ company and hope we stay in contact.

Can I thank you all for sharing your time with me and each other and wish you well in the quest you each have and may the force go with you.

Cllr Bill Chapple, Chairman of the Transport, Environment & Climate Change Select Committee 


Cheshire East

Action Learning Research: Green Recovery, Retention and Creation of Green Jobs

My absolute purpose was to ensure that emerging policy for a Green Recovery, including the creation/retrofit of green jobs, was deliverable for rural areas as well as urban. 

My research focused on:

  • sustainable travel to work.
  • how planning policy could be updated to reflect the Green Recovery in a timely manner, for both new and extant permissions.
  • the influence of agri-food contracts/procurement on the Green Recovery.
  • the reach of agri-food businesses to underpin rural jobs in both manufacturing and professional services.
  • the importance of digital connectivity.
  • the importance of enabling local jobs for local people.

Obstacles:

  • many councils have benefitted from a Rural Mobility Government Grant to enable a dial ride style of bus service. However, my conversations with a sample of existing employees showed that whilst dependent on the model it could be useful they were unlikely to use it to get to work. 
  • cycling and walking were more likely to occur, but it would require massive investment in creating cycle/walkways along already crumbling rural roads.
  • the ability to influence planning policy either by supplementary planning documents or neighbourhood plans is limited, particularly for those authorities who haven’t an adopted or up to date Local Plan.
  • that local authorities have an essential role, particularly in conjunction with LEPs, in supporting agriculture/agri-food with strategic policies for clean growth in the rural economy.
  • that agri-food business is well placed to example and deliver green jobs.

I learnt of its work towards meeting the needs of climate change and its ability to absorb/offset carbon and studied an agri-food business where:

  • government LEADER Grant Funding energised investment in new plant and machinery which has reduced energy consumption, improved water collection and animal welfare.
  • the importance of attracting and retaining employees is uppermost, including the need for locally sourced labour and/or for provision on site.
  • a chain of influence can and is driving climate change via sales contracts and procurement of agri-business and how this model examples ‘Green Jobs’.

I broadened my search to the National Farmers Union who have a raft of research and advice on carbon reduction. I sense work started early to ‘dispel myths’ and has resulted in a clear understanding of what government, local authorities and business would achieve most if ‘they work together’; whilst worrying in a sense it does seem that the practice of ‘council climate change emergency’ announcements has highlighted a gap in guidance and inherent knowledge within local authorities.

The NFU are clear that, ‘agriculture is also uniquely placed as both the source of 10% of UK emissions as well as a sink. Farming captures carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and turns it into a wide range of foods, fibres and fuels. By capturing and storing carbon, agriculture can generate negative emissions. Farmers also manage substantial carbon reserves already present in soils and vegetation’.

Interestingly they set out their Net Zero Aspiration to Councils in three pillars which reference some areas of my original search:

Boosting Productivity to Reduce Emissions:

  • This pillar evidences the role of procurement in supporting the local economy, creation and retention of jobs. 
  • It perfectly articulates the need of an agile, well resourced local planning authority which is willing to energise Local Development Orders and fast tract vital Building Modernisation.  (Note: I am concerned that if councils continue to under-resource planning, jobs will be lost not only in agri-business.)
  • The need for joined up action on digitalisation with opportunity for on farm mobile and broadband infrastructure.
  • Promotion of electric charging point infrastructure in rural areas. 
  • The pivotal role in providing engagement between Agri R&D Centres, facilitate agri-tech investment and promote knowledge of new technologies across commercial businesses.

Storing Carbon on Farmland:

  • Just how local authorities can work with farmers and growers to find mutually beneficial solutions to invest in tree planting and incentivise good management of existing tree stocks. (Note: I believe this is key in avoiding misunderstanding when councils make announcements without, e.g. engaging with their council tenants.)
  • Explore the opportunity to ‘carbon offset’. (Note: I see this as such an opportunity to educate and example.)
  • Whether woodland is in existence or whether new areas that start work now,  create new jobs via promotion of new markets for locally produced timber and wood fuel. 

Renewables and the Bioeconomy:

  • A clear policy to promote the opportunity of renewable energy infrastructure.
  • A clear policy to support the concept of carbon capture and storage.
  • Creation of energy networks.

I believe that Green Jobs can be delivered in a rural area but it also requires:

  1. A review of how rural jobs are accounted for by LEPs. I believe that figures are currently skewed in that jobs created by rural businesses are not accounted as such, which I believe undermines the influence of agri-business.
  2.  That Local Authorities should adopt a Rural Strategy with a policy of Rural Proofing and most importantly one of ‘We can do this Together’.

I would like to thank the LGA, Mike Green of Action Learning and colleagues whose steer was invaluable. I learnt of work that is already underway to ‘bridge the evidenced knowledge gap’ and I was delighted to be able to connect the LGA and NFU in this regard.

Cllr Rachel Bailey, Vice Chair, Audit & Governance Committee


Cotswold District Council

Green Business Pledge

I have been Economic Development Lead at Cotswold District Council since July 2020.  The Council’s Administration has declared both climate and ecological emergencies and responding to these forms a key part of the Corporate Plan.  I was asked to put together a “Green Business Pledge” for local businesses to sign up to, committing them to reducing their carbon emissions and this is my ALS challenge.  This sounds straightforward, but these things are rarely as easy as they sound at first! Enrolling in the LGA’s Leading and Learning Green Jobs Action Learning programme, I used this as my challenge to work on. 

The first step was to research what was out there already.  There are a range of pledges that businesses can sign up to, ranging from Business Declares to the UN Global Compact.  Many of these are lengthy and complicated and can be bewildering, particularly for small businesses who have lots of other competing pressures on their time and resources.  I wanted something that was easy to understand and which led to tangible action, rather than a pledge which just gathered dust once signed.

Our choice was whether to simply adopt an existing pledge, to create our own or to work to create one across the whole of Gloucestershire.  The first option would have been the easiest, but probably not the most effective for the reasons I have stated – especially given that Cotswold District business base is made up of 90% of micro-businesses with 9 or fewer employees.  Creating our own would be more work, but would give us the opportunity to tailor something for our own circumstances and put the District Council at the front and centre.  Partnering with other Gloucestershire councils and the LEP would give scale and, by its nature, look more joined up to the outside world, but risks moving at the pace of the slowest.

Having taking a briefing note to informal cabinet, their preference was for a Cotswold pledge.  I also took a similar paper to the Cotswold Economic Advisory Group, made up of key stakeholders.  They were supportive but a couple of key players – the LEP and the Federation of Small Business – were clear in their preference for a countywide scheme.  I also recruited St James’s Place Wealth Management, our largest employer, to assist me and have been working closely with their Head of Environmental Strategy.

Another challenge came from left field when I discovered, quite by chance, that a local Environmental Consultant was working independently on a similar countywide pledge.  I contacted him and thankfully our thinking was largely the same, so we have agreed to work together and I introduced him to the LEP and others.

The Action Learning programme has helped me along this journey in a number of ways.  It taught me to look further along the horizon rather than just focusing on the next stage.  For example, it prompted the thought of businesses exchanging best practice once the pledge was up and running.  It also underlined to me the importance of having a robust communications plan.

The questioning helped me to find solutions to overcome obstacles along the way and to take ownership of them rather than having them imposed on me.  It’s also highlighted that we all face similar challenges and while collaboration within the sector is generally good, perhaps it ought to be the default option.

It’s also taught me that we need to have well-defined goals and detailed action plans, with regular reviews to keep them on track.  I haven’t completed the journey envisaged by my ALS challenge, but I know where I’m going and I’m further ahead than I otherwise would have been.

Paul James, Economic Development Lead


Craven District Council

Resources to support a community-led climate friendly recovery in our towns and villages

This project started with a broad question: ‘How can we enable a green recovery in our towns and larger villages?’

This was one of the key questions that had arisen from our Climate Emergency Strategic Plan review for 2021. With our response to the COVID-19 pandemic well underway, Councillors, businesses and community groups have a shared interest in developing approaches to planning and supporting town and village centres to reopen and develop in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

The Action Learning Set process helped to focus and redefine the question until it became a more clearly targeted and achievable project. The experience and insights of others allowed them to ask challenging and open questions that have led to a clear and practical objective with measurable impact. The Action Learning Set also allowed me to consider a very large number of options for improving the project in a short space of time. In additional to this, the ‘wrap around learning’ that was provided proved useful – particularly the session focusing on leadership and communication styles, which helped to change the emphasis of the project to one that is community-led and owned, rather than Local Authority planned.

The ‘output’ of the project will be a set of learning and reference materials on key topics for town and parish councils, community groups, businesses and residents. These materials will provide information about the opportunities for development that are available under a range of key headings (energy efficiency & energy generation, greener travel, reducing waste, circular economy, land and nature). These resources will contain details of local and national funding opportunities and support mechanisms as well as short case studies showing how similar projects are already realising benefits.

The resources are being produced in collaboration with one town and one larger village in the District, with the support and involvement of their parish councils and community climate action groups. They are expected to be completed in September 2021.

There have been many benefits from engaging in the Action Learning process. The practical key benefits for the success of this project have been:

  • Refining the question, and therefore the scope of the project, to an achievable goal.
  • Considering the impact of the project and defining measurable outputs.
  • Refocusing our way of working on the project, to make it genuinely community led rather than centrally planned.

Engaging in the process also had many personal and professional development benefits including:

  • Insight into the professional experience of colleagues in other authorities
  • Acknowledging the importance of dedicating time to reflection
  • Mutual professional and emotional support gained from working with others in similar circumstances
  • Understanding of the Action Learning process, which we may use locally to address our challenges in the District

Rob Atkins, Exchequer & Performance Manager


Dorset Council

Turning Dorset into a Low Carbon visitor destination

One of the objectives in Dorset Council’s draft Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy is regarding sustainable tourism and specifically turning Dorset into a low carbon visitor destination. It involves writing an action plan and forming a stakeholder forum group by December 2022.

The challenge

Firstly to define what a low carbon visitor destination is, to calculate the carbon footprint of Dorset’s tourism industry at this moment in time and then agree actions on how to achieve a reduction in that footprint, aiming for net zero by 2050.

The solution

To engage as many stakeholders as possible in the process of writing the plan to get them on-board from the start. To develop two sides of the plan. One to encourage visitors to be sustainable when they take their holiday or day trip in Dorset and the other to help tourism businesses lower their carbon footprint.

The actions

During the time which the action learning sets have taken place, Visit Dorset (which is Dorset Council’s tourism service and which I am part of the team) have already played a role in shaping the ‘Towards 2030’ prospectus which has been put together by the Great South West Tourism Partnership. The prospectus includes a £10 million project to help businesses become more sustainable and promote the South West as an eco-friendly visitor destination. The Prospectus will be used to bid for government funding to support the tourism industry in the South West.

I have also created a new section on our tourism industry website to encourage and help businesses lower their carbon footprint, as well as helping to plan two webinars on electric vehicles. With transport and travel being a large part of a visitor’s carbon footprint we need to find ways to encourage people to travel to and around Dorset in the most sustainable way possible, involving public transport, walking, cycling and using electric vehicles. The webinars were run in April by the Energy Saving Trust and BCP (Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole) Council to tell the viewers about what types of electric cars/vans are available and the benefits against petrol/diesel vehicles as well as installing electric vehicle charging points and what grant funding is available.

The impact

Visit Dorset already promotes eco-friendly travel to visitors, for which I have written most of the content for this section and will continue to enhance. My current project is to add more walking trail information and create a cycling short-break webpage to encourage visitors to travel around Dorset without their car or take a completely car free holiday.

I have also written a draft SMART action plan to take the project forward:

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Relevant

Timely

Visitor focused campaign on slow tourism (closely linked to sustainable tourism)

Campaign complete

Campaign will subtly encourage visitors to eat locally produced food and drink, travel around on foot, get back to nature etc.

This campaign is aimed at visitors who have a partial interest in the environment, but wouldn’t normally engage in specific eco-friendly practices.

December 2021

Audit Dorset sustainable tourism projects which are already in progress/completed to avoid duplication

Audit complete

Audit will show which projects/themes are not being focused on

Consider if projects not being worked on will lower destination carbon footprint

December 2021

Work up case studies with Dorset Council tourism businesses (country park/outdoor education centres) to showcase how carbon footprint can be lowered

Case studies created and promoted

Case studies will encourage other businesses to calculate their carbon footprint and lower their carbon footprint

Case studies will showcase what can be achieved

December 2021

Online surveys – for both tourism businesses and visitors

Surveys complete

Surveys will provide evidence on which areas to focus efforts

There is little data available for Dorset giving the views of both visitors and businesses regarding sustainable tourism

December 2021

Start discussions with partners regarding the issue of tourism seasonality

Working with partner organisations, decide what are the main issues of seasonality in Dorset

Results will go towards a plan of action

Seasonality is closely connected to visitor management, sustainability and the destination offering

 

 

June 2021

Deliver webinars to tourism businesses on reducing waste/plastic, reducing food waste, installing renewable energy

Webinars completed and feedback attained

Webinars will be aimed at businesses to encourage them to lower their carbon footprint

Webinars will focus on different aspects of Dorset Council services, i.e. waste, carbon reduction, plastic free

March 2022

Measure carbon footprint of tourism in Dorset

Footprint calculated

Calculation will give a starting point for reducing the footprint

Goals/targets could be set to achieve reduction in footprint by key dates, aiming for net zero by 2050.

June 2022

Sustainable tourism partnership forum created & plan formulated

Forum created and plan written

Plan will show what has already been achieved and what still must be done

Plan will provide a direction for action for the next 3 years

December 2022

 

How is the new approach being sustained?

I am dedicating one day per week to sustainable tourism although this may change in the future as the Growth and Economic Regeneration service, I am part of will shortly being going through a restructuring process.

Lessons learned so far

There are many strands to sustainable tourism and that is closely linked to other areas of work including seasonality, slow tourism, environmental protection, visitor management and destination management. I will be focusing on what can be achieved in the next 3 years.

Links to relevant documents

Rachael Shefford, Tourism Officer


Hastings Borough Council

Retrofitting the existing housing stock

Reducing energy demand from existing housing stock is a key action of the Councils Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan – carbon emissions from the existing housing sector account for 49% of the towns total emissions.

Improving the existing housing stock brings many co-benefits such as  making our homes more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate, reducing fuel bills, eliminating fuel poverty, improving health, supporting local employment and economic growth and the development and growth of new skills. It is estimated that the investment needed to bring all homes up to an EPC C rating is anything between £35 and £65 billion across the UK by 2035 – a huge opportunity for green jobs and skills development. (BEIS) 

The retrofitting agenda is a complex challenge. To date retrofitting has been subject to and impacted by the start-stop nature of national funding and ad-hoc national policy as well as more recently supply chain and skills shortages, especially as regulations change. Delivering a retrofit agenda requires a collaborative multi-disciplinary approach in order to be able to deliver the scale of the challenge and the pace that is required. By 2035, over 13 million homes need to be upgraded to an EPC rating of at least an EPC C to meet national climate change carbon emission reduction targets.

At least 19 million homes in the UK still need to be made low carbon, low energy and resilient to a changing climate, the opportunities for green jobs is vast. Retrofitting presents a huge opportunity for local communities, businesses, higher and further education, local authorities and government to work together and be part of the solution to retrofitting our homes.

We have learnt a lot from taking part in the BEIS retrofit pilot and the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery schemes; slowly a  local supply chain has started to emerge that can deliver improvement works that meet the  requirement of PAS 2035 standard  and take an integrated approach to any required works. A whole house plan is required for every home which can then be delivered over time with the right finance support mechanisms in place to help cover some of the high upfront costs whilst ensuring homeowners receive accurate advice and support. Each home is individual, a one size fit all approach will not work.

Next steps

Plans are underway to bring key services areas together from across the organisation to show case what has been delivered to date and facilitate a discussion about the opportunities and challenges that have arisen so far and develop a  whole organisation approach for delivering the retrofitting agenda into the future. Historically only housing, climate change and fuel poverty teams have been involved in the delivery of retrofit projects. Service areas to be include housing renewal, development control from planning services, building control, economic development and regeneration, towns fund and housing enforcement and climate change team, and senior managers. This will help to ensure that we develop a robust approach to this agenda going forward. Later in the year we plan to run a workshop with private Landlords to encourage them to take advantage of national funding as it becomes available to retrofit their assets whilst meeting the requirements of MEES.

In summary

The existing housing sector has a crucial part to play in the transition towards net zero. The next 10 years will be pivotal in setting us on track to meeting the 2035 carbon reduction targets for the UK and the towns climate emergency ambitions. It will require behavioural change and individual buy in from everyone that owns a home, whether a private landlord, social landlord or individual. Everyone will need to buy into the retrofitting agenda. Local authorities have a key role to play in facilitating these discussions. Local leadership will be essential to ensure that new skills are developed in new technologies and whole house retrofitting. Existing employers will need places and resources to learn about new ways of working and to develop new skills to ensure they can meet new regulations; this in turn will help to develop and evolve the supply chain needed. 

Chantal Lass, Climate Change Programme Manager


Kirklees Metropolitan Borough

Poor Air quality has been classified as the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, and a wide group of stakeholders has a role to play in improving air quality, including individuals, businesses, and public sector organisations. It is important to generate relevant guidance to align wider priorities and create opportunities to achieve better outcomes tackling air pollution

The leading and learning programme has been instrumental for me to reflect about relevant priorities to the green recovery principles and climate change response to be integrated into a wider Low Emission Strategy (Working within the wider economic, social and environmental context) and identify what skills could be used to deliver the policy and local government ambition relevant to both Clean Air and a Low Emission Future

The experience of active listening Demanded real effort for me, to ask questions that add value to the discussion, while the reflective process promoted in myself being a more active part of the team. About the benefits of the programme, I could say that a lesson that will stick with me is that Persistence in building the solution, but adapting the plan according to new approaches product of a good team interaction

Beyond the challenge that I brought to the programme, I witnessed in real life how could be achieved the collaboration and co-delivery of wider objectives rather than focus in competing priorities, a theme that is present in our daily work as local government officers, as individual the most valuable lesson that I will keep in my daily job is ask more baseline questions to gain better or fully understanding of challenges asap and, in that way promote more team interactions and development of more effective solutions

Key actions and next steps

Required skills, resources and relevant stakeholders identified through the ALS, were incorporated in the project workstreams to promote the awareness and achievement of the intended outcomes of the West Yorkshire Low Emission Strategy to be delivered between 2021 – 2026.

Johanna Rosario, West Yorkshire Low Emission Strategy Officer


Leeds City Council

Developing a toolkit of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Background

I am currently in opposition on Leeds City Council and Chair of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities). I enrolled in the LGA’s Leading and Learning programme to address a specific issue related to green jobs and the green recovery.

Overview of the project

How can I get Leeds City Council to develop a toolkit that SMEs can use to maximise both the financial help and practical support on offer to them that is low on bureaucracy and high on ease of deliverability?

Stakeholder list

The key people and organisations I needed to engage and progress the project:

Clean Growth and Innovation Programme Lead

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA)

Chief Economic Services Officer

Leeds City Council

Chief Officer Sustainable Energy/Climate Change and Air Quality

Leeds City Council

West Yorkshire Mayor

WYCA

Institute of Directors

 

Chamber of Commerce

Leeds Chamber of Commerce

Federation of Small Businesses

Leeds Fed. Of Small Businesses

Local Enterprise Partnership

Leeds LEP

CBI

 

Green Investment Bank

 

 

What have I found out?

As part of the Action Learning Programme I began to realise there were more questions than answers initially emerging:

  • WYCA have an Economic Recovery Plan costing £60m but basically it is just a plea for funding. They have a commitment to net zero by 2038. They have a Green Enterprise Foundation and are running something called “Innovate Edge” which is in the form of a Pitch Fest.
  • Leeds City Council are developing a Recovery Plan and have already developed an Inclusive Growth Plan. They are running a Matching Event in June which will match people to Green Jobs.
  • There is no definition of what a “Green” job is. Is it acceptable for part of a job to be “Green” and the rest standard, or working towards being fully “Green” or should it be “Green” from end to end? Do businesses know what is involved, how do they ensure their supply chains are carbon neutral?

Communications Plan

The communications needs to be multi-layered and ensure access for all. There are a number of different strands:

  • a website to access with the toolkit in it.
  • workshops – online via webinars / seminars
  • a slot on local radio
  • regular newsletters that people can sign up to
  • press campaign
  • make use of social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc
  • stakeholders’ websites should carry all the information and link to the toolkit.

SWOT Analysis of current situation

A critical element in progressing the project will be overcoming any weaknesses and mitigating any threats, whilst building on strengths and capitalising on emerging opportunities. Some of these are laid out below:

SWOT analysis - Leeds city council

Looking ahead

On a strategic level we need to address the following medium to short term goals:

  • We need finance for people with ideas to be supported to start up.
  • A number of industries and services in the Leeds City Region that can be used to build on people’s ideas so that local supply chains can be used.
  • Good manufacturing base in Leeds which is a great starting point.
  • Getting into school curriculums and the education sector so that young people identify with green jobs as a career opportunity.
  • Encourage and support colleges and Universities to develop qualifications to British Standard and quality marks so that they are recognised in the industry.

Practical actions

We need to take some more immediate, specific and practical actions:

  • Work with the LGA and get them to take a lead
  • Identify entrepreneurs with a product idea and match them with funders as soon as possible – CBI or Chamber of Commerce as a starting point.
  • Look for opportunities to get it into mainstream discussions so it becomes a main item in a number of fora.
  • Leeds City Council Executive Board need to have regular reports – make it an “obsession”.
  • Look at which of the Council’s policies conflict with the green agenda.

Lincolnshire County Council

A Climate Partnership for Lincolnshire

Challenge

In order to achieve net zero carbon status local government needs to reduce its own emissions and engage with the various sectors of the wider community to help in reducing their carbon emissions. This note sets out how Lincolnshire County Council is looking to engage with its business community to reduce their carbon emissions so that the whole county can reach net zero by 2050.

Overview

Climate change can only be successfully tackled by all elements of society working together to reduce their carbon emissions. Many organisations in the public and private sectors already have detailed action plans of what they will do to reduce their climate impacts. However, there are some businesses that have not yet addressed the issue. In order to remedy this Lincolnshire County Council is looking to step up its engagement with local businesses on climate change and environmental issues and to assist in delivering a community wide low carbon economy that meets the local and national targets of achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050. This will be achieved through the establishment of a Climate Change Partnership.

Carbon emissions from business

An analysis of the countywide carbon emissions in Lincolnshire has shown that the commercial and industrial sector is directly responsible for just under 30% of current emissions. This equated to 1.1 million tonnes of carbon emitted in the 2018/19 financial year.

Examples from elsewhere

As part of the research for how business could be engaged on carbon emission reductions examples from elsewhere were studied.  Several local authorities around the country have established climate change partnerships to facilitate their engagement with the wider community on climate change and other related environmental issues. Examples include the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership, Sheffield Climate Alliance, Zero Carbon Cumbria and Carbon Neutral Cornwall. These partnerships typically include the county and district councils (or equivalent) and include partners from other organisations such as the Environment Agency, local water company, local universities, business groups and businesses active in the local area.

Climate Change Partnership Projects

Business Lincolnshire is a business support programme that already works with businesses around the county. Part of their offer includes support for businesses on resource efficiency audits – identifying areas where they can reduce their waste or re-use their waste materials. The Climate Partnership can build on these established links to engage with firms on wider environmental issues.

A good way to have a wide impact in a short space of time is to introduce a number of small scale trial projects that can be quickly reviewed and promoted to other similar businesses if they produce carbon savings. A wide range of trial projects were proposed, including the following:

  • Carbon Pledge: A simple pledge will allow business to demonstrate an initial commitment to reducing their carbon emissions.
  • Environmental Accreditation: Support for businesses to prove their environmental credentials. There are a number of existing accreditation schemes which can help businesses to develop an environmental management system – such as Investors in the Environment.
  • Business Resilience Support: In some locations the impact of climate change are more apparent than in others. Businesses in these locations need to give thought to how they would carry on trading in the event of flooding, heat waves, other extreme weather, etc. A simple business resilience guide would assist with this.
  • Environmental Skills Review: The local LEP has funded a review of environmental sector in the county and this has highlighted some skill shortages in specific sectors – such as the retro-fitting of domestic properties. There are opportunities to work with the further education sector to address these shortages.
  • Small scale grant support: A grant support scheme to introduce environmental improvements was considered. This could be used to add PV solar panels, energy efficiency improvements or ev charging points.
  • Electric Vehicle Support: The number of electric vehicles in use is growing rapidly and the sale of purely petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles are being stopped from 2030. Businesses need think about getting their firm EV ready. A guide will be produced, which is based on the experience of other businesses.
  • Biodiversity for business: some business premises have the potential to have great biodiversity value. This project would look at installing small scale interventions to increase the biodiversity value of the site – these could include bird boxes, planting areas, trees, etc.
  • Greening supply chains: this trial project would work with businesses to look at the climate impact of their supply chains and how it can be reduced.

Climate Summit

In order to launch the County Council's zero carbon plans and the Climate Partnership a Lincolnshire Climate Summit will be held in October 2021. This will be informed by the build-up to the global climate summit in Glasgow (COP26) in November. The Summit will provide an opportunity to launch the climate partnership and look for businesses that would like to be involved.

Resourcing

Budgets for these projects are limited, so it was decided to see if funding bids could be used to set up the projects. The Communities Renewal Fund and the upcoming shared prosperity fund represent opportunities to get funding to start some of the Climate Partnership work.

Partnership working

The research into developing the Climate Change Partnership has identified that there is already a great deal of work underway around the county on reducing carbon emissions. There are many opportunities to work together with district councils, business groups, national bodies and businesses to share best practice and set up trial projects.

Dan Clayton, Sustainability Manager


North Norfolk District Council

Role related learning

Sphere of Influence

A significant learning experience during the ALS has been understanding/coming to terms with the sphere of influence that I have in my role relating to the specific project that I have been working on.

When I took on the 110,000 tree project I thought I might be able to change some of the fundamental elements of the scheme – i.e. change the main measure of success, 110,000 trees, to something that I believed may be more impactful. It soon became clear however during the project that this was not feasible and I was not going to be able to make this change. There was too much political support and publicity around the figure. Realising the things I was unable to change allowed me to accept the scope of the project and to focus on what ‘successful delivery’ might look like. There have since been aspects of the project that I have been able to shape and influence, but learning what the boundaries of my role are, and my personally ability to influence change, has been a helpful process as it has defined how the project has moved forward.

Empowering

Whilst having not been able to change some aspects of the 110,000 project there have been many elements of the project that I have been able to have considerable shape and influence over. This process has been empowering and has helped me to establish my own position within the council as someone who is knowledgeable, passionate and keen to ensure that we deliver first-rate projects (I only started in post in December 2020).

Stakeholders to become partners

In order to progress the 110,000 trees project I have needed to work quite closely with a range of stakeholders. These include businesses, third sector organisations, community groups, and individuals. However throughout the project, and my time on the ALS programme, my relationship with stakeholders has developed into closer working partnerships which has opened up the door to work on furthering many of the council’s other ambitions regarding action on the climate change emergency.

Catalysts

Whilst the 110,000 trees projects is a fairly discrete piece of work - in so much as it has a clear and measurable outcome and end point, it has served as a catalyst for future projects and schemes in the District which seek to address the council’s climate change action agenda. This was not an intended outcome but is rather a helpful and pleasing side-effect! As a result of the 110,000 trees project I have developed some fruitful and long-lasting partnerships with organisations who we hope to work with closely to achieve our net-zero carbon emissions targets. In this context the 110,000 project has served as a great springboard.

Reflecting on the ALS: Speaking and listening

The action learning set process is one that gives all people equal opportunity to speak, vocalise their thoughts and feelings and to listen. The ALS methodology worked particularly well -  I have been at training sessions, or courses, where only extroverted people speak up, or ask questions or provide insights, however I felt the ALS put everyone, extrovert, introvert etc on an equal playing-field. It also almost goes without saying that in professional life there is not a lot of time to talk to people and to be listed to in the way that the ALS provided so this was refreshing, novel and a way of learning that I particularly enjoyed.

Sector

The local government climate change sector is obvious a fast-paced and moving feast. The ALS highlighted to me how diverse the sector is and how many different areas often single officers, or small teams are expected to cover. There is still a struggle towards mainstreaming the climate change agenda and the green recovery is one that is going to have to be championed by a few for the benefit of many. I think that officers working within the sector are under huge amounts of pressure, not to mention the complicated politics which still enshrine the climate change and environmental agenda. This reflection has only reinforced to me the importance of the networks developed through the LGA and is something that I would like to see continued/progressed.

Personally

Throughout the ALS and the development of the 110,000 trees project I have learnt a lot about myself. I now recognise that I have strong values and that I believe in achieving ‘the best’ and not just ‘getting the job done’. In the past I have considered myself to be very pragmatic and perhaps not someone who subscribes to a set of beliefs, values or theories. The 110,000 project, and the ALS, has however drawn out of me a real sense of what I believe to be the right thing. This does not just apply to environmental and climate change outcomes/excellence, but also to being a steward of public money and a public servant.

Project highlights

There have been many project highlights. From a purely project focused perspective it has helped me to understand the 110,000 project in a new way and has allowed me to accelerate the progression of the scheme in a way I may not have otherwise done. I think one of the greatest highlights of the project has been the discussions with other colleagues across the country. Working in the climate change sector brings many challenges and it was interesting to hear about the ups, downs high and lows that others have experienced.

I have also felt really privileged to have been listened to, and to have listened to, such a kind and thoughtful group of people – something that the ALS process really nurtured and encouraged. As a newcomer in a new organisation starting during a lockdown, the ALS have seemed like a group of colleagues to me in the same way that my own team do at my own council! This was an outcome and highlight that I did not expect form the ALS programme but one that I found to be particularly enriching.

Project challenges

I think one of the most challenging things about the ALS programme is that it made me confront a project that I may have otherwise put to one side. Being relatively new to the council and being tasked with a range of challenging projects from net-zero action planning to policy development, to citizen engagement, to staff workshops around the climate crisis, it would have been easy to ‘park’ this scheme for a few months. In addition to this, the project that I chose to bring to the ALS is one that, by its very nature, I have found a challenge therefore questioning, thinking and interrogating it in such detail was challenging, but of course thought provoking from the beginning of the programme right through to the end.

Annie Sommazzi, Environmental Policy Officer


South Oxfordshire District Council

As cabinet member responsible for climate change and nature recovery in addition to being leader (because I believe these are so important and pervade nearly all our activities) I was attracted by the title of the course. I didn’t know what to expect from it. My council, South Oxfordshire District, is part of the Ox-Cam Arc which is viewed by government as a growth area (a goose which is supposed to lay golden eggs to spend on levelling up?). Councils across the Arc have adopted environmental principles which mean that we need good green growth. Hence the need for jobs with good environmental outputs.

The course format was new to me but turned out to be interesting and it was useful to hear about others experiences and opinions. In fact my choice of retrofitting using local green jobs as a project was very much influenced by Martin’s project. I thought it might be useful to work in a similar field and also much retrofitting will be needed to reduce energy usage in our homes. The very practical session given by Charlie on retrofitting was very worthwhile and I was glad I was able to get one of our new climate change officers to attend too.

My project has moved on. We are now working in partnership with the other Oxfordshire councils and OxLEP (from the jobs, skills and apprenticeships point of view) on retrofitting. Much will depend on what funding might be available.

But retrofitting will come via two routes for those who can & those who can’t afford it:

For those who can afford to pay for retrofitting themselves we need to convince people that it is a worthwhile thing to do, for a number of reasons, financial, climatic and moral and to advise on what might be appropriate for their property.

For those who can’t afford to pay for retrofitting themselves funding sources will need to be found, probably via government grants through whatever route. There may be a need to decide where best to spend what will probably be limited funding. We shall need data on the condition of our housing stock and the financial status of the residents to aid fair use of limited resources.

Here is an extract from a cabinet update to show where we’d got to in early May:

  • Retrofit Scrutiny Committee (South) has established a Task & Finish group, including 2 representatives from our adjacent council, to review retrofit in Oxfordshire. The review will include:
    • Barriers to retrofit
    • Best practise in other LAs
    • National funding and support
    • Local skills landscape
    • Options for how the councils can best take retrofit forward
  • Green Homes Grant Scheme likely to be devolved to LA’s which will increase funding for retrofit within the districts. Awaiting guidelines from HM Government. All Cllr briefings to be held on 10 and 12 May on the scenario modelling that will inform the development of each Councils Climate Action Plan.

In summary, I think I have managed to move retrofitting and the examination of local skills for carrying it out up the agenda but measure of success will be the resulting warm homes using less polluting energy!

Cllr Sue Cooper, Leader


Tandridge District Council

Entering your first Grand Tour: taking the first steps with social housing retrofit within an Action Learning Set

Like many things we do in local government, our ambition is not often the issue, especially when it comes to climate change and reducing carbon emissions. We know that reducing consumption and emissions across our activities and estates is the right thing to do, for many reasons.

Consequently for authorities that have significant holdings of social housing, retrofitting these to achieve net zero is a big prize that we would love to win. Although when preparing to embark on what seems like a cycling Grant Tour - a long and complex multi-stage race that requires a lot of time, money and effort - we must be careful not to adopt the wrong race strategy or “go into the red” [burn out] at the wrong time.

Social housing retrofit is complex and difficult to grasp, especially for smaller district and borough authorities. The potential costs of retrofitting thousands of properties certainly gives one pause for thought.  For instance, how to accurately assess the condition and requirements of the property stock, navigate external funding opportunities, manage tenants’ expectations, and produce technical solutions in a sector where technology is rapidly changing and advancing – will hydrogen do for retrofit what the derailleur gear systems did for cycling? Regardless, like any team that enters a Grand Tour, there is a lot of capital and reputation at stake for Council’s starting out on retrofit.

Fortunately Grand Tours are team races, engaging with colleagues, in and outside of our authorities, can enhance our competitiveness in the carbon reduction race. Slipstreaming teammates by sharing lessons learned and resources can lessen our individual workloads. Adopting a questioning / action learning approach with colleagues can also improve Stage planning and race management, by using others’ perspectives to focus the retrofit challenge in light of our authorities’ specific context, such as reducing the short-term scope and concentrating on immediate Stages, so we don’t become overwhelmed with the scale of the challenge and can manage our fitness over the long-term until we reach the finish line.

Having chosen to work on retrofit within a team working Action Learning Set, in partnership with the LGA and Transitional Space, and outside of the normal silos (even just your own authority) led me to some broader lessons on retrofit, and potentially climate change more broadly:

  1. Like any team entering a Grand Tour, empowerment is key to being competitive in the race, that is, having sufficient resources (equipment & budget) and support (Member & Senior Management). 
  2. Remain focused on the immediate manageable goals but not losing sight of the long-term one either. It’s not helpful to focus on the ultimate goal, retrofitting thousands of properties with limited budget and capacity. Taking each Stage one at a time, reading the road and conditions as they change, can allow flexibility to adapt to new technology, approaches and external funding streams.
  3. Incentives: everyone involved in a professional Grand Tour - the teams, support staff, sponsors - need incentives for action regardless of the value of the ultimate prize. Therefore it behoves us to consider what motivates each stakeholder specifically if we are going to reach our collective 2030/50 goal.

Action Plan

  • Where are the gaps?
    • We do not have an accurate survey of the condition of our social housing properties and what they require, exactly, to become carbon neutral.
    • We expect that there may be multiple low-carbon heating solutions, however we are unsure which ones are the most suitable and whether new, more appealing, options will come to market in the near future. This issue makes it difficult to produce a specific project plan.
  • What are you already doing well?
    • Identified our goal and understand the urgency and complexity of completing it.
    • Have colleagues on board, including at other Surrey local councils

Outcomes (One Planet Living Principle)

  • Zero Carbon Energy – To make our Council housing properties more energy efficient and switch them to a low-carbon energy supply.

Actions

  • Speak with Business Improvement Manager to confirm the delivery timescale for an IT project that would enable our Community Surveyors team, and potentially external contractors, to conduct accurate property assessments.
    • Confirmed that the software should be available in June 21. [Done]
    • Double check the upgrade includes the mobile-app / on-the-go element – May 21
    • Calculate implementation phase timeline with Surveyors team – Jun 21
    • Further actions will be depend on the outcome of the above
    • Begin survey of our properties using the new system (schedule to be confirmed)
    • Begin scheduling “quick-win” retrofit works and identify more complex / expensive projects and begin to plan approach to these.
  • Co-setup a retrofit Hub for Surrey Local authorities: to share knowledge and resources
    • Raised and agreed with county climate change officers group that the idea should be produced.
    • Prepare brief / proposal for our next meeting this month – Jun 21
    • Agree TOR, members, meeting forum and frequency of meetings – Jul 21
    • Hold first meeting, and schedule – Jul/Aug 21
  • Support the lead delivery officer with his research into low-carbon heating options, which will result in an options appraisal for our Councillors to review – ongoing
    • Hydrogen literature review – Jul 21
    • Options appraisal
  • Confirm whether we can apply to the LAD2 fund for social housing retrofit works
    • Meet with Greater South East Energy Hub as part of pre-questionnaire [Done]
    • Meet with Lead Surveyor and Director of Communities to confirm we could be in a position to proceed with match-funding approach and project scope:
      • Insulation works
      • 1-2 off-grid pilot projects (swap from boilers for air source heat pumps) [Done]
    • Follow-up meeting with Hub with Lead Surveyor – May 21 [Done]
    • Complete funding questionnaire for Hub and managing agents (i.e. suggested number of properties and works) – Jun 21
    • Future actions to be determined by following stages of the funding process.

 

Indicators

  • Number / % of social housing properties with a validated and up-to-date EPC rating of C
  • Number / % of social housing properties with a validated and up-to-date EPC rating of A
  • Number of installs – loft insultation
  • Number of installs – cavity wall insulation
  • Number of installs – low carbon heating
  • Number of installs - other
  • Qualitative report on potential low carbon pilot projects.

Monitoring and reporting

  • Monthly – as part of the climate change programme internal reporting
  • June 21 – Strategy & Resources Committee as part of the climate change programme update.
  • November 21 - Strategy & Resources Committee as part of the climate change programme update (annually thereafter).
  • Before end December 21 – Housing Committee, options appraisal for low carbon heating solutions for our social housing.

William Mace, Project, Policy and Performance Specialist


Test Valley Council

Introduction

Test Valley is in central southern England and, like most, has its pockets of deprivation but is relatively affluent. Therefore my focus is on business support rather than physical regeneration.

Providing free expert advice, grants, accommodation, networking etc requires a “business-friendly” outlook. I was attracted to this programme to connect business support with Climate Emergency.

TVBC declared a Climate Emergency and produced an action plan. It refers to working with the business community but focuses on the Council.

My Challenge

“To encourage and support skills training for businesses  involved in carbon reduction activity.”

I looked at business/skills rather than environmental or community aspects and chose my challenge before I became aware of the business aspects of carbon reduction. As I learned, I refined the challenge:

First, as the result of the specialist property (retrofitting) webinars in April I focused on domestic property green jobs; and

Second, in speaking to tradespeople, I realised that sustainable heating is not yet competitive so began to focus on retrofitting, “fabric first”.

Understanding the landscape

I assumed, from Government announcements and media coverage, that a small,  developed market for retrofitting and the installation of low carbon heating systems  was thriving and therefore I could connect businesses and training providers.

I spoke to many agencies: EM3 LEP, South East England Energy Hub, FE Colleges, private training providers, a housing association, colleagues in TVBC and Hampshire County Council as well as businesses providing “green jobs.” I realised that the domestic housing green jobs market is not properly articulated and replacement of the Green Homes Grant (Local Authority Delivery 2 grant) leaves much to do.

Broadband revelation

My revelatory moment came in the April panel webinar the comparison was made between green jobs (retrofitting/low carbon heating) and delivering superfast broadband.

The comparison is perfect because the parallels are there: ten years ago, as BT enabled its exchanges, one by one, for basic broadband, we’d never heard of ADSL, bandwidth, Gigabit fibre, streaming etc. and didn’t know who was doing what to achieve Government targets. In those ten years we’ve achieved 95% superfast coverage, in part, through a network of county superfast broadband partnerships. They managed BT Openreach contracts (e.g. www.hampshiresuperfastbroadband.com) to which district councils contributed. Government invested about £1.1bn in its Superfast Broadband Programme 2010-17 and in 2020 announced a further £5bn, to reach 85% of premises with 1 Gb/s by 2025.

Hampshire Superfast Broadband is the local hub for sharing information and best practice among businesses, public agencies and customers.

The LGA should recommend the creation of county “green jobs hubs” to connect the Great SE Energy Hub Greater South East Energy Hub Trades DPS with district councils, businesses and others and drive the local agenda over the next decade there are other outcomes and actions to be put forward.

One Loving Planet outcomes

Equity and economy – creating safe, equitable places to live and work which support local prosperity and international fair trade

Culture & Community – Nurturing local identity and heritage, empowering communities and promoting a culture of sustainable living

Zero carbon energy – making buildings and manufacturing energy efficient and supplying all energy with renewables.

How to achieve?

Working with local parties and the Greater SE Energy Hub (LADS 2 grants), namely EM3 LEP, TVBC Environment and Health 

Promoting the 5 year (April 2021-March 2026) Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for Energy Efficiency Measures to local businesses

Awaiting the successor system for accredited training providers and promoting training opportunities in Hampshire.

Personal reflections

  • Very grateful for people’s support and suggestions, which helped me refine my focus; for the friendly collaborative learning process and how it was managed.
  • Have learned a lot about the business and skills training side of Climate Emergency both through colleagues in my action learning set, Helen our tutor and the webinars.
  • Action learning encourages an enquiring style of thought which helped me.
  • Having started on this learning journey I would like to continue, as the wider momentum gathers pace, both with my action learning set and through the LGA.

In my own particular journey I have moved from being agnostic to changing the award category being sponsored by my council in the 2021 Test Valley Business Awards to “business reducing carbon footprint”.

Action Plan (using One Planet Living framework)

Context Analysis Framework

 

 

 

 

 

Already Doing

My Challenge

“To encourage and support skills training for businesses involved in carbon reduction activity.”

Key things which come to mind:

This project focuses on the property-related sub sector of “green jobs” ie how consumer demand for carbon-efficient buildings and heating can be stimulated, the business supply chain can respond and new skills training can be provided to support this growth  over the next few years.

1. Test Valley “green jobs” relating to property

Jobs: LGA research suggests about 780 (68%) of Test Valley’s “green jobs” at 2030 will be in low carbon heat and building insulation. The rest will be in low carbon fuels, low carbon services and EV.

However, local anecdotal evidence (Test Valley businesses known to be in retrofit/green energy sector etc) suggests this may be an underestimate and there may already be at least 1,000 jobs in the property element of green jobs in Test Valley (2021). (Eco Tech Ventilation; AES Ltd; Chimflue; AirVent Technology etc.)

Furthermore, there are other green jobs sectors eg manufacturing electric bikes: Cancha.

Property-related green jobs: domestic properties account for 30% of energy and 19% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. 19m. out of 29m. homes need to be made low carbon to bring to EPC C. This will cost £35-65mbn. By 2035 or £73m by 2035. (HOC Environment Audit Committee March 2021)

2. Supporting local businesses to reduce carbon by:

  • promoting greentechsouth.com
  • preparing for locase.co.uk/about
  • preparing for Test Valley Business Awards with TVBC sponsoring a reducing carbon award
  • being a members of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Green Innovation Steering Group Meeting

3. Understanding the local landscape of organisations involved in “green jobs” including:

Frameworks

Are you using any other frameworks? How do they relate to the OPL Principles?  

  • Equity and local economy – creating safe equitable places to live and work which support local prosperity and international fair trade.
  • Zero Carbon Energy – making buildings and manufacturing energy efficient and supplyi9ng all energy with renewables.

How do we feel?

Not optimistic yet.

The challenge is urgent: the built environment needs to be almost completely de-carbonised by 2050 through energy efficiency and low carbon heat. To achieve this 19m homes need upgrading to EPC A,B or C by 2035. Overall we need to have reduced our carbon emissions by 68% in the next 9 years - by 2030.

The main impetus for change can only come from Government by encouraging private business (through incentive and penalty) to reduce emissions and invest in carbon reduction goods and services for others, including public consumers.

Much is being achieved but, in relation to the domestic property sector, which accounts for 19% of UK gas emissions, the £1.5bn. Green Homes Grant has been replaced by a £0.5bn. Local Authority Delivery Scheme 2 (LADS 2) which will only target the worst insulated homes and those occupied by households earning less than £30,000.  

We are the beginning of a 10-20 year green jobs market in building more energy efficient new homes, retrofitting the existing stock and installing energy efficient heating systems. 

Positive Impacts

The foundations being put in place with the Government’s 10 point plan and LADS 2.

There are local examples of business best practice with companies working very hard to meet demand and private training providers such as SERT who are keen to attract a partner to invest in a “green demonstration home” which will inform consumers, support supplying businesses and trades and train the future workforce in green jobs for the property sector.

Negative Impacts

There is a gap between high level Government announcements eg 350,000 new green jobs net and the reality on the ground in terms for eg of the readiness of public training providers to begin training the next generation of apprentices who will deliver the retrofit and green energy agenda.

Future Trends

If we are to meet national targets the Rogers adoption-innovation curve applied to retrofitting the 19m homes (including installing/replacing with low carbon heating) would suggest a 15-20 delivery period peaking half way in the early 2032. However, depending on Government policy (financial incentives) this profile could be accelerated.

Opportunities

A Hampshire Green Jobs Hub

We are at the beginning of the domestic property green jobs “revolution” which is likely to happen over the next 10-15 years, if we are to meet national carbon reduction targets.

It is evident that there are many organisations involved but little if any co-ordination including with private v businesses, who will ultimately deliver this transformation.

In many ways we are where we were with the advent of the broadband revolution, when BT was enabling their exchanges one by one, before the lexicon of bandwidth, streaming, Gigabit Fibre Networks and Netflix was common parlance. In order to lead and co-ordinate all of those involved; to obtain collective buy-in and to stimulate demand, a series of public-private broadband networks or partnerships were established at county level. Today we need the same but for green jobs.

www.hampshiresuperfastbroadband.com/about-the-project

HGJH would provide a central resource for:

  • common understanding
  • sharing/championing best practice
  • promotion/raising public and commercial awareness and demand.

HGJH would connect with and support:

  • EM3 and Solent LEPs
  • Greater South East Energy Hub Trades DPS (due-north.com)
  • Businesses (and representative organisations) interested in reducing their carbon emissions via GreenTech South and LoCASE
  • Skills training providers: HE, FE, private, CITB, social housing providers, etc
  • Hampshire’s 13 district councils
  • economic development staff working with businesses and training climate emergency staff about wider involvement environment and health staff working on grants for retrofitting

Challenges

We are at the very beginning retrofit and low carbon domestic energy market. By comparison, it is taking 20 years for the global EV market to grow from 9%  to 94% - and this with strong Government policy.

Air and ground source heat pumps are expensive relative to combi boilers. Therefore this niche market needs Government financial stimulation in order to generate consumer demand which in turn will attract more suppliers and in turn more training providers to upskills workers and create the 250,000 b jobs forecast by 2025

For example, the Heat Pump Association projects a 15 year take up (2020-35) in which 80% of the gain will happen through retrofit on-grid and about 20% from new build. The main incentive up to 2030 will happen from Government boiler scrappage scheme.

Charlie Baker’s presentation of the West Yorks. example (LGA Webinar 9.4.21) showed the need for 30,000 construction workers 2022-2030 and a spend profile rising from £400m. p.a. to £2.4bn, reaching 80,000 homes p.a. And this despite a 12% reduction in EU born construction workers over the last year (from 176,000 to 127,000) 

 

Stakeholder Management

Action Planning Team

  • Key decision makers (see above Hampshire Green Jobs Hub)

Who to keep informed

  • External parties

Desired Outcome

OPL Principle (s)

Within Hampshire - Promote the idea of a Hampshire Green Jobs Hub

 

For LGA to promote county green jobs hubs to upper tier authorities 

 

Government to extend LADS 2 to encompass greater proportion of housing stock and catalyse the market

Equity and local economy  - safe equitable places to live and work which support local prosperity and international fair trade

Energy audits and access to EU capital grants to reduce carbon to be commonplace for businesses within a few years

 

Zero Carbon Energy – Making buildings and manufacture energy efficient and supplying all energy with renewables

 

Outcomes/actions

 

Outcomes

Actions (6-8 per outcome) – What?

Who?

By when?

Indicators

Principles

Promote the idea of a Hampshire Green Jobs Hub

  • Promote HGJH to Hampshire County Council and district colleagues and to Hampshire Chamber of Commerce
  • Promote Green Tech South audits and grants to local businesses
  • Initiate LoCASE grant scheme
  • Work with Climate Emergency TVBC colleagues, Portfolio Holder etc to explain role of businesses in delivering CE goals

TVBC EDO

Ongoing

  • Degree of acceptance
  • Number of businesses / value of grants
 

 

David Gleave, Economic Development Officer


Torridge District Council

The challenge and the context

At times in our work lives things just happen to pop up at the right time. Sadly, that doesn’t happen nearly often enough, but in the case of the LGA’s Green Jobs Action Learning Programme it was very true.

Torridge, here in northern Devon, faces many of the same issues of isolation, seasonal economies and low productivity of many isolated coastal areas. But that sense of reasonably unspoilt, even rugged, beauty which has often been seen as the greatest drawback to the area’s economic prosperity is now finally being seen as an enormous, and hugely important, opportunity.

One of the most significant blockages to growth in our local economy is very simply there not being sufficient high quality spaces available for expansion. So we end up with some businesses not growing for lifestyle reasons, others who become blockers taking up the spaces and some who cannot grow locally. That accommodation is also all fairly dated, with no consideration having been given during their development into how to best support green jobs - whether you interpret that support need as being for the work taking place inside the unit or the importance of green infrastructure for eco-minded businesses. Success lies in achieving both.

Climate Emergency priorities and the need for both economic and social change and adaptation have become real drivers for debate locally, in a similar way to the government has now begun to actively push its own levelling up agenda. The idea of “Natural Capital” is not one which is the kind of thing people might talk about in the pub (now that they’re allowed back in), but is definitely a focus of economic planning in northern Devon.

The challenge, though, is very much around what working infrastructure will be needed to support what is a hugely broad term, “green jobs”. For example, getting a stronger handle on what sorts of opportunities our local universities (Exeter and Plymouth) see as being needed for their students, so that we can look to open up employment land and provide the right spaces.

We currently own three patches of land which we are keen to develop but the business case needs to be right, as always.

  • Two are set in fairly deep rural areas, with one of those being near an active agricultural market
  • One, Middle Dock, is a small quay front along the water from Appledore shipyard, now owned by Harland and Wolff.

We also work very closely with the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, who have just lead on both the national marine and landscape pioneer programmes for Defra, so the question is:

How to stimulate jobs collectively and make sure that everything is made as easy as possible for anyone looking to either start up, grow or relocate here?

Progress / opportunities seized

So having framed the question, a second interesting opportunity emerged - the Community Renewal Fund. For in the March budget Torridge was announced as a Priority location for the Community Renewal Fund. The challenges of co-ordinating local projects in what was an incredibly short (5 week) window were enormous. But it did enable a real focus on aligned projects, and how CRF could potentially support the work which had been started for the LGA Green Jobs programme, giving a clearer sense of focus and definition to my initial challenge.

Initial discussions with my Green Jobs Action Learning Set had focused on two key things for all of our projects;

  1. Having a really clear understanding of why we were looking at our projects, with a vision for the change we were looking to create; and
  2. Making sure that it was being done in true partnership, with both local and wider stakeholders, to avoid duplication or a piece of work not “fitting” with other efforts.

Middle Dock has a 99m quay frontage and is one of the few remaining undeveloped dock spaces across the South West. It’s currently used as a waste and recycling storage space, with the buildings on site preventing active use of the whole space- they are simply put not in a fit state for human use. The rats love them, though!

The Community Renewal Fund, a revenue-driven scheme with a short delivery window, allowed us to fully start exploring the potential for the site. It also provided impetus for sector partners to get involved- including Maritime UK (SW), Petroc (local FE College) and Plymouth University who knew that the best chance of shared success and therefore progress was dynamic collaboration. Devon County Council supported with some early stage feasibility work as well, providing a race-against-the clock opportunity to tighten that clear vision which the LGA-cohort had agreed would be so useful. The Community Renewal Fund bid then allowed us to lay out a clear pathway to establishing best-fit uses for the site and delving into how it could fit within a “green” (or, in this case “blue”) jobs agenda - driving higher-skilled, higher-wage employment within the offshore sector given the dock’s position within the Torridge estuary, leading out into the Bristol Channel and the proposed site for an offshore array.

So progress has started - but at a very early stage.

Outcomes

At the start of the LGA programme we were asked to reflect on what success would look like. At the time my responses were;

  • At least one of the sites built out and offering ready-to-go employment spaces within three years
  • A draw for graduates and inclusion in at least one HE careers advice pipeline
  • A link established for skills input with FE / HE to establish higher skills at the heart of the project

So this Middle Dock work is currently on the right lines. We’re now waiting for the Community Renewal Fund announcements, but the scheme has now been passed up to MHCLG from Devon County, so we’re hopeful. But that will very much just be the starting point of the work, with the physical infrastructure just being a small part of the work required, with skills provision and supply chain support being central to the long-term needs and sector engagement and interest being the next step- crucially, to ensure true partnership, as per bullet point 2 of our cohort’s shared agreement.

Reflections on the action learning process

Coaching is a process that I’m familiar with from having been involved in teaching and educational consultancy for 13 years. However, although I do enjoy the nature of probing questions I do also find that my own learning and thought processes thrive from active discussion and debate, with a process which involves the sharing and challenging of ideas and personal experiences. That can be due to the pace that I tend to have to operate, but it is also the case that sometimes finding time to step back, pause and reflect can also be crucial in order to create best possible progress - although that opportunity can, alas, be rare. I am also aware that I can often overstep the process through offering that sense of personal experience, even if that can frequently then lead to a challenging question. I think that was definitely an issue with Rachael’s challenge (from Dorset) given the synchronicity of her challenge with some of the work we are currently undertaking here in Torridge around the greening of the local tourism sector.

The sense of personal reflection and peer questioning rather than advice giving was challenging at first. We all entered into the process with a large number of unknowns - I know that the easy route at the time would undoubtedly have been for someone simply to tell me what I needed to do next. Yet what that wouldn’t have done was truly make me think through the rationale and understand the why of what I was doing. It was challenging, without doubt, but hugely rewarding.

Moving the challenge forward (draft action plan)

To create a genuinely dependable action plan on the theme of employment spaces for green jobs at the moment is to ignore the unpredictable nature of the world of local government at the moment:

  • Unpredictable government funding, both in terms of the allocations to local authorities and also the nature of grant funding for specific threads. Servicing employment land or building out spaces is very simply not sexy enough for a high profile funding stream yet would create significant local growth!
  • Land owners wanting to hold on to their land where it has been designated for employment space in the hope of flipping to residential in the absence of an approved 5 year land supply.

However, the Community Renewal Fund process has created movement forward:

  • Initial feasibility undertaken on a quayside site which has been acquired by the Council, exploring its potential role within a growing SW maritime sector.
  • There are particularly strong opportunities connected to the neighbouring Appledore shipyard and also to the burgeoning offshore renewable sector, as well as to the importance of relevant skills provision.
  • The intention is for this to be further developed to become shovel ready for funding as part of the Community Renewal Fund and in preparation for the Shared Prosperity Fund.
  • Pilot programmes and skills accelerators have been proposed to support retrofit supply chains and also community energy programmes.
  • Healthier supply chains will need spaces for growth, and so put extra pressure on purse holders to invest in appropriate industrial estates.
  • The sense of chicken or egg is often used as a rationale for inactivity - if the supply chain or demand is not there why invest in the facilities?
  • The evaluation of efforts for the Community Renewal Fund should provide significant rationale for the development of a suitable business plan to justify the work.

That said, we are also in the process of reviewing the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan. This will give an opportunity for the employment spaces which have been designated across the district to be reviewed and for the economic development team to have input which will then become part of the guiding strategy for the region.

There is currently universal alignment among key economic drivers in the region for the need for environmental principles to be of the highest possible quality if we are to capitalise on the green economy opportunities post-pandemic.

Chris Fuller, Economic Development Officer


Appendix C - Leading & Learning Programme: Webinars

Leading & Learning – creating green jobs: Retrofitting Webinar

Many of the delegates on the Leading and Learning – creating green jobs programme were grappling with the retrofit agenda. Retrofitting both domestic properties and commercial properties is obviously going to be a significant source in the short, medium and long term of green jobs, which was the focus of the programme. the issue, as many delegates discovered, is quite complex. And so we felt it was important to bring in some people with a number of years experience in the field.

For the webinar in April we invited Michael O’Doherty from Local Partnerships and architect Charlie Baker from Red Co-operative to talk through the strategic challenges. Charlie is the director of Red Co-operative, and an expert in low carbon refurbishments and energy supply and has written several reports on retrofits standards and finance.

Some of the key questions Michael and Charlie were asked included:

  • What can local authorities do to develop relevant skills and the supply chain for domestic retrofit?
  • What they think are the likely skills gaps and bottlenecks?
  • What are the barriers to local authority engagement?
  • What help and support do local authorities require?

The slides, recording and transcript of the webinar can be accessed here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/82b8kpmrexr23tg/AAAuwFp4gXHoJMHWUObbaCvJa?dl=0.

The rest of this blog is a summary of the key messages that Michael O’Doherty outlined in his presentation. Charlie Baker’s slides are also available and can guide you through the more detailed practical side of the what we mean when we talk about retrofitting and what the skills are that need to be developed.

It was felt that the government over the last few years taken it’s eye of the ball but now there was a lot of attention being focused back on the retrofit agenda, and that it was critical that we all get it right this time. Indeed the House of Commons Environment Audit Committee produced a report that was quite critical of the government’s approach to domestic retrofitting.

It recognised that there was a chronic shortage of skills in the home retrofit sector. Of 29 million existing homes across the UK, at least 18 million still need to be made into low carbon energy and resilient to address climate change. Given that approximately 80% of those properties will still be around in 2050 we can conclude that it's as much about the existing stock as it is about the new stock.

Given that domestic properties account for 30% of energy use and around 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, the climate committee recognizes that energy efficiency is a vital first step towards decarbonizing homes whilst addressing health and fuel poverty issues as well.

Given that in England alone, there are over 10 million owner occupied homes and over 3 million private rented sector homes which need upgrading to EPC A, B or C, tackling these sectors is going to be really challenging. From a local authority perspective, however, there could be some easier wins. Specifically the social housing sector might be one of the areas that we could focus on initially, because addressing homeowners who aren't in many cases aware that that they need to be involved and won't be able to afford or won't be willing to afford the upgrades that are involved in their cases. This would help develop supply chains and provide jobs across the UK.

The social housing sector is a sector which is in relatively good condition and we can focus on to develop some of the supply chain that will need to be developed. And indeed we've got more willing leaders in this  area who are somewhat easier to engage - a chief executive or a director of property rather than hundreds of individual households.

Given that the industry has been bruised by the recent stop-start policy and changing spending decisions it is harder to get the industry, and even local authorities and their partners to really gear up to participate to drive the huge programmes that is needed.

The government will have to address this, as a priority, in terms of being providing more reassurance that the funding and the policy framework is more consistent and sustainable over a considerable period of time.

This would need to form part of a major government strategy, which was promised earlier this year, but isn't out yet. Given that we have legally binding, climate change targets, which will not be met without near elimination of greenhouse gas from the UK buildings by 2050, the government strategy has to show the different pathways available for how the built environment can be almost completely decarbonized by then. This will be through a mix of energy efficiency and transition to low carbon heat.

Investment needed to bring all homes up to EPC C varies but will be between £35 - 65 billion to 2035, whilst the climate change committee puts a figure of about £55 billion to 2050, and an energy efficiency infrastructure group puts the figure at around £73 billion.

Both Michael and Charlie were clear that the most effective approach would be “fabric first, but not fabric only”, with insulating your building being the most important aspect to get right first, followed by renewables, and then start to consider other kind of options as well.

They highlighted the view that if you replace heating with electric heat pumps, and you've decarbonised your grid, then you can get a long way towards a low carbon decarbonized stock without maybe having to do as much of the installation. Of course this creates other massive challenges. For example the cost of electrified heat will be very expensive, and could actually put more people into fuel poverty, and also issues around the capacity of the electricity networks.

There are also some questions about the fairest way of funding the transition. Whether it's a fair way of doing it by effectively funding through everyone's bills, given those who are in fuel poverty already are also paying for that. The government's recently introduced green homes grant wasn't particularly well planned, was massively oversubscribed, and the individual householder element was recently scrapped at short notice. The impact has been supply chain bottlenecks and also it left a lot of firms who'd skilled up for it and households very disappointed.

However, the other element of green homes grant - the local authority driven schemes where they helped promote and manage is ongoing. It's relatively small scale at the moment, but the suggestion is that it will be expanded.

A further interesting funding route that's been announced is the social housing decarbonisation fund (£3.8 billion). Given the amount of money involved local authorities, working with social housing providers, could develop supply chains over the next few years, which would then enable the development of supply chains to support efforts within the private sector.

One of the biggest challenges of upskilling and reskilling – around heat pumps, installation, management, etc – suggests there will be large skills gaps which need to be addressed now. A large component of this is to increase the understanding of actually what's involved in domestic retrofit – the mix between the traditional and new kind of building trades, insulation, the dry walling, electrics, heating sides.

How do you build support for action at a local level? Clearly it's about making sure your key politicians and councillors are on board, are supportive, and champions, some of the internal services such as planning, building control, and economic development, and social housing providers to be part of a joined up approach. In addition, local education colleges and universities are valuable in terms of knowledge, engagement and are, of course, training providers.

There also needs to be engagement with business representatives, chambers of commerce, key employers as well if you want to drive this agenda and want to champion that locally. Finally, but absolutely not least, community organizations, organizations that provide retrofit; the communities of really willing households that want to engage with this agenda. A key component of the local authority challenge is to be able to, to bring about a top down approach with a bottom up approach.

In summary, Michael and Charlie argued that it is possible to get to zero carbon by 2038, we could eradicate fuel poverty by 2030 – and Charlie showed how the whole thing can be done with no net cost to the public purse, as long as the government helps jumpstart it.

However, it's not for the faint hearted - the numbers are much bigger than the government is talking about, and it needs to be looked at strategically and local authorities are best placed to convene the right people, develop a framework, with pathways, for how the housing stock can be retrofitted, and to present the case to government.

Leading & Learning – creating green jobs: Managing Change & Influencing Webinar

As part of the Leading and Learning – creating green jobs programme it became apparent early on in the programme that if both officers and members were to achieve the deliverables from the challenges that they had set, then they would need to effect change within their authority and indeed within the larger system. As one delegate insightfully put “we are all change agents now, aren’t we?”. And one of the key elements of managing change is identifying, communicating with, engaging, and influencing a myriad of stakeholders.

We ran the Managing Change & Influencing Webinar on April 14 2021. We used various frameworks including John Kotter’s eight steps for transformation, Kurt Lewin’s Force Field Analysis (FFA) and research carried out by myself and also from Prosci.

Kotter’s eight steps are:

  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Build a guiding coalition
  • Get the vision right
  • Communicate for buy-in
  • Empower action
  • Create short-term wins
  • Align structures, systems, policies and skills – don’t let up!
  • Make change stick by anchoring firmly in the organisation’s culture

Kotter’s framework is one of the most popular frameworks for change and is useful, at the very least, to understand where you and your project are on the change journey.

A more granular framework – our own, Hexagon Model of Change was also presented which asked key questions which needed answering at each stage of the change process across a number of dimensions: 

  • Task – organising and implementing change
  • People and process – mobilising and aiding transition
  • Leadership – orientating, focusing and integrating change

Key takeaways included the following:

Although those of us in this field know the sense of urgency it is important that we ensure that stakeholders also have that urgency, and this can be done through evidence-based data and powerful, and tangible stories of the consequences of inaction;

Coupled with this catalyst for change must be a vision of the future which is motivating and for this we made reference to a cartoon which looked at the tremendous benefits and co-benefits of working towards a green recovery and tackling climate change – preserving rainforests, sustainable products and services, green jobs, liveable cities, clean water, clean air, healthier children, etcetera, etcetera.

Exemplar authorities were doing two significant things – engaging with all stakeholder groups and working towards ensuring that sustainability was becoming part of the DNA of the organisation – all policies were being checked for potential adverse impacts on the environment.

During the whole programme, we had made good use of Lewin’s Force Field Analysis which helps visualise the current and desired future state and the various forces at play which are driving or enabling movement or restraining progress. These forces are likely to include: personal; interpersonal; group; inter-group; cultural; administrative; technological; financial; environmental elements, including oneself!

The key to getting forward movement was not to rely solely on increasing the driving forces – it might work for newton but can merely increase resistance when dealing with human systems. No, by focusing on the restraining forces – often people – and engaging and influencing them, you can sometimes ‘flip them’ onto the positive side.

Delegates were also introduced to the five colour paradigms of change, developed by Léon de Caluwé and Hans Vermaak, which “present five fundamentally different ways of thinking about change, each representing different beliefs systems and convictions about how change works, the kind of interventions that are effective, how to change people, etc. They are labelled by colour: yellow, blue, red, green, and white print thinking. Each is based upon a family of theories about change. These five models function as communication and diagnostic tools and provide a map of possible change strategies.”

We looked at what sort of change leadership behaviours are essential – not just in general change situations but especially when tackling environmental and sustainability challenges. We used the Leadership Qualities Framework developed by Esther Cameron and myself. Our research suggested that in every change situation, change agents need to be able to demonstrate the following or have people on the team who can exhibit these qualities. Different weighting is required for different change situations but all these qualities are necessary, to some degree, and in some configuration. To help understand the qualities we gave each a name, a personification of the quality, an avatar if you will:

The Edgy Catalyser, with a focus on what needs to change, who acts as a catalyst and creates urgency and discomfort. They would create and maintain awareness of the climate emergency; spot when and where stakeholders are reneging on promises; and focus on where there are blockages in the system.

The Thoughtful Architect, with a focus on developing a well-thought through strategy and acting as “grand designer” of the strategy, create possible scenarios for us to step into. They would ensure they have an understanding of the whole ecosystem; would be working up scenarios and crafting strategies; and ensure feedback loops inform the evolving strategies.

The Visionary Motivator, with a focus on engaging people and signposting them towards a desirable future, acting as an empathetic coach, envisioning, motivating, and inspiring. They need to develop a positive sustainable vision of the future, with others; attracting people to the vision and the call to action; and having sustained energy and enthusiasm for the onward journey.

The Measured Connector, with a focus on aligning and connecting disparate interests and interest groups, acting as a connector, whilst being ethically grounded and measured. They are clear about the mission and who needs to be on the journey; excellent at developing trusting partnerships and collaborations; whilst ensuring that disparate parts of the system are fully connected.

The Tenacious Implementer, with a focus on developing a plan and seeing it through, acting as project manager, and being a “completer finisher”. They translate the sustainable strategy into practical actions; establish metrics, roles, responsibilities; and hold people to account on their deliverables.

Summary

As mentioned earlier, delegates heard some best practice research and it is probably a good way to summarise the key elements from the webinar. The number one contributor to change success is to have ongoing, active, visible and effective sponsorship. There needs to be a clear rationale and compelling reason to change with a clearly articulated direction, end point and motivation for change. There also needs to be a clear sense of how the process will be managed.

On-going, focused, tailored communication of direction and progress and demonstrable engagement with stakeholders is a pre-requisite for successful change implementation as is having a credible effective dedicated change management team, with a well planned and organised approach. That approach requires attention to the task of change, the people involved in the change, and the process of change.

Dr Helen Stride and Mike Green, Transitional Space

Appendix D - Workbook Journal (indicative content)

Leading and learning together – creating green jobs programme, working towards a green recovery: Workbook Journal (Feb-May 2021)

SECTION ONE

Welcome

Welcome to the programme. This ‘workbook journal’ is a place for you to record all of the information about your challenge(s), your commitments to taking action, and your learnings. It is also a place for you to record any other thoughts, ideas, reflection, observations, etcetera as you go through the programme.

It will be particularly useful in preparing for, during and immediately after the action learning sets. In addition it is a place for you to record your progress and can act as a prompt for the learnings that you wish to share with the wider local government community and for preparing your mini-case study at the end of the programme.

In the appendices you will find useful information about the purpose of the programme and additional resources.

Aim of the programme

The overall aim is to provide individual, group and sector support to help deliver a green economy, with the overall aim of contributing to the UK reaching Net Zero Carbon by 2050.

Objectives

The objectives of the programme are to:

  • Support local government and local areas in their pursuit of a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Provide councils across England with tools, skills, opportunities, capability, support and challenge to help grow a low carbon and green economy; and
  • Catalyse a network of local partnerships that not only inform the shape of the council’s net zero strategy, but also help it to be implemented more quickly and cost effectively

Format

You will be part of a small group of four: six fellow officers, working on your individual challenges and the sector-wide challenge of creating green jobs. In turn your group will be part of a wider network of perhaps 25 economic development and climate change officers and also a separate group of approximately five or six Members.

The time commitment will be approximately five (short) days over the coming four months.

The programme launch was on Thursday 4 February and you can access the presentation slides in the shared Dropbox folder. Between February until May your group will have four 1-day facilitated action learning sessions.

During each session you will be given the opportunity to work on your own ‘green jobs’ challenge; support your fellow set members in their challenges; and look at the wider sector and national challenges associated with creating green jobs.

The Action Learning Sets will typically be run on a Tuesday or a Thursday. The programme will conclude with a half day ‘symposium’ on Thursday 13 May 2021, where everyone can share their learnings and generate ideas for further action.

Dates for your Action Learning Sessions have been sent to you separately and you can record them below together with any agreed changes to your schedule. In addition we will arrange a number of optional, more technical sessions where specific expertise can be drawn upon.

Launch

ALS 1

ALS 2

ALS 3

ALS 4

Final half day

10.00–12.15

10.00–15.30

10.00–15.30

10.00–15.30

10.00–15.30

10.00–12.30

4 Feb

 

 

 

 

13 May

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dates of optional webinars

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall approach

The ‘leading and learning together’ programme will:

  • Be based on Action Learning Set (ALS) principles;
  • Provide a safe space for you to reflect, exchange ideas and curate knowledge;
  • Create a pathway forward for your council to develop in the area of green economic development; and
  • Form a peer network of mutual support.

As part of the process there will be the opportunity for you and other participants to agree key messages and share the learning across the sector in a sensitive, appropriate and timely manner to support local areas nationally.

Action learning methodology

Action learning is “a process that involves a small group working on real problems, taking action, and learning as individuals, as a team, and as an organization while doing so” (Marquardt, Michael J. (2011) Optimizing the Power of Action Learning)

The action learning methodology is based on some assumptions:

  • The owner of the ‘problem’ or the challenge is best placed to come to their own decisions on what to do
  • The most effective way of reaching their decision and goal is for their Action Learning Set (ALS) colleagues to ask powerful questions rather than offer solutions
  • Programme members form a group or ‘set’ which is assisted by a ‘set advisor’, who acts as a coach to each group

Although action learning seeks to develop the individual, it uses organisational, or perhaps in our case, sector-wide, problems as the vehicle for the learning.

Getting the best out of the process

There are a number of useful conventions that need to be observed if the group is to really benefit from working in these groups:

  1. The presenter should make clear what the problem or challenge is that they are addressing, and to be helped  by the group to clarify and if necessary reframe it
  2. Action learning is about asking helpful and insightful questions, which helps the presenter to gain awareness of what is happening and to develop ideas and choices of actions for them to take
  3. At the end of the session, the group checks with the presenter what they are committed to doing, before the next meeting of the group
  4. The group is encouraged to avoid judging, giving advice or offering solutions
  5. The role of the coach is to remind participants of the process, the rules and the time.

 

Each set member will have ‘air time’ – normally between 30-45 minutes - where they can present their problem or challenge and the other set members will help the presenter to make some more sense of the issue and commit to taking action before the next session when they will report back on progress, identify learnings, and discuss options for further progress.

You may wish to call the issue that you are working on a problem or a challenge (other words which might describe it include difficulty, quandary, trouble, dilemma, crisis, issue, predicament, task, project, or opportunity).

SECTION TWO

Framing your problem or challenge

The challenge or problem:

  • Is something that you want to work on and can be progressed over the next four months
  • Needs to be directly or indirectly linked to working towards a green economic recovery and green jobs (i.e. something within the three overarching objectives of the programme)
  • The challenge can be of an economic, or climate or political nature though not limited to these
  • It can be of a strategic nature and relatively longer term, or of a more immediate nature
  • You will need to have some control or influence over them.

The challenge should also have some of the following qualities:

  • Potentially a significant impact for you in your role and/or your counci
  • Urgency (i.e. something which really needs to be progressed this year)
  • No existing solution (i.e. a thorny issue which is preoccupying you)
  • Feasibility (i.e. it has a chance of success, and of being progressed over the next few months)
  • Familiarity (i.e. not too esoteric that you ALS colleagues wouldn’t be able to support you)
  • The ability for it to be a learning opportunity

Preparing to present

In preparing to present your problem you may wish to consider the following questions:

  • How can you describe your problem situation in a few sentences?
  • Why is this problem important to you and/or the organisation?
  • How would you recognise progress on this problem?
  • What are the difficulties you anticipate as you and/or the organisation work through this problem?
  • What will be the benefits if this problem is minimised or resolved?

The typical format for presenting your issue will be along the following lines:

  • In your allotted time you will have 5 – 10 minutes to present the challenge and also say what aspect of it you want to work on in the session;
  • There may be a minute or two for clarifying questions; followed by
  • The heart of the session which will be 20 – 25 minutes for your ALS colleagues asking ‘powerful questions’ with you reflecting on the questions and responding; then
  • There will be a final round of reflections, observations & statements;  finishing with
  • Your commitment to action.

Presenters challenge

 

Useful ‘powerful’ questions

Action learning places a high priority on group members asking good, challenging questions. Questions which:

  • cause us to focus and/or to stretch
  • create deep reflection
  • challenge taken-for-granted assumptions that prevent us from acting in new and forceful ways
  • are supportive, insightful, and challenging
  • are selfless, not asked to illustrate the cleverness of the questioner or to generate information or an interesting response for the questioner
  • open up the problem owner’s view of the situation
  • generate positive and powerful action.

Read through the following list of questions, and keep them to hand, to get a sense of what type of questions you might ask.

Questions of understanding

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • What is the difference between how you see things now and how you would like them to be?
  • How will things change if you are successful?
  • Who might be willing to help you?
  • What obstacles do you anticipate?

 Questions to get below the surface

  • Can you explain? What exactly? How do you know? Can you give an example?
  • What happened…? and? Because? Everyone? Always? Who are 'they'?
  • How do you feel about that? What assumptions are you making?
  • What do you think will happen and why?
  • What are the consequences of doing that?
  • What was the high point/low point for you?
  • What have you learned from all this?

 Questions to stimulate learning

  • What is challenging for you about this issue?
  • What opportunities are there for you in the situation?
  • What would success look like?
  • That obviously excites you: why?
  • What metaphor could you use to describe the situation?
  • What is important, what is urgent and what is the priority?
  • What have you tried? Why did/didn't it work?
  • Who else have you involved in this issue?
  • Who can you turn to for advice and support?

Questions to explore options

  • What if…?
  • How would they react…?
  • How do you feel about…?
  • What do you think about…?
  • What are the pros and cons of your behaviour?
  • What would happen if you did nothing?

Additional powerful questions

  • What are the effects of this on others?
  • Is there another way of working?
  • What skills do you need to develop to cope with this?
  • How can you improve the situation?

 Questions to stimulate action

  • What are you going to do next?
  • What are your options for action now?
  • Where could you get more information?
  • Who else could you seek help from?
  • What are you going to do for yourself before the next meeting?
  • How can we help you to make progress?

Questions to check current reality

  • What is happening now?
  • How sure are you that this is an accurate representation of the situation?
  • How else could the issue be seen?
  • Who is most affected by this issue?
  • Who else has some control over it?
  • What could be stopping you from acting on it?
  • What resources can you bring to bear on it?
  • If one wish could come true on this issue, what would it be?
  • What is the present situation in more detail?
  • What is your concern about it?
  • What steps have you taken so far?
  • What stopped you from doing more?
  • What obstacles will you need to overcome?

Questions to stimulate options

  • What are the different ways in which you could approach this issue?
  • What alternatives are open to you?
  • What else could you do?
  • What would you do if you had more…..time, money, energy etc?
  • Which of these options would give you most satisfaction?
  • What is the full range of possible actions in these circumstances?
  • Which is the most attractive to you now?
  • What would you do if you could start all over again?
  • What are the costs and benefits of taking this action?
  • If this solution occurred what would happen?

Questions to check commitment

  • Which option will you choose?
  • What will be your criteria for success?
  • What could hinder you?
  • How could you overcome these?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to doing this?
  • What needs to happen to move you to a 10?
  • Who is most likely to share your aims?
  • Who is most likely to be supportive?
  • What support do you need and from whom?
  • When are you going to start and finish each action?
  • How will you know that you have achieved it?

SECTION THREE

Identifying your problem/challenge

Initial statement of the challenge you wish to tackle together with some of it’s key components (some of the following questions may be helpful):

The challenge in a nutshell:

  • What are the significant features of the challenge?
  • What is the scale of the change (how large, how long, how complex, how uncertain, etc.)?
  • Who are the key stakeholder groups and how are they positioned (who is on board, who is against, where may there be resistance)?
  • What has worked, not worked so far?
  • What type of leadership/leadership style on my part may be required?

As part of your initial thinking we suggest:

  • Having two or three conversations with significant other work colleagues; and
  • To help you frame the challenge within the LGAs original brief please read through the list of questions in Appendix A.

Conversations with others (to help define the challenge):

  • Officers to discuss, for example, with your manager, a peer (e.g. Climate or Economic Development) and Portfolio Holder
  • Members to discuss, for example, with your Leader or Portfolio Holder and two officers (Climate & Economic Development)

Action Learning Set One

Presenting the problem/challenge (expand/reduce as appropriate)

  • The problem in a nutshell
  • Key elements of the challenge
  • What help I would like from the Action Learning Set (ALS)
  • Questions asked of me by other set members
  • Notes to self
  • Commitment to action

Challenges of my action learning set colleagues 1-5  (expand/reduce as appropriate)

  • Their problem in a nutshell
  • My notes on their challenge
  • Questions to ask
  • Supplementary questions
  • Further observations
  • Final statement

End of session one reflections & learnings

  • Individual learning
  • Learning from others’ challenges
  • Learning from the process
  • Ideas for the wider sector

Action Learning Set Two

Presenting the problem/challenge (expand/reduce as appropriate)

  • The problem in a nutshell
  • Key elements of the challenge
  • Progress & learnings since last time
  • What help I would like from the Action Learning Set
  • Questions asked of me by other set members
  • Notes to self
  • Commitment to action

Challenges of my action learning set colleagues 1 - 5 (expand/reduce as appropriate)

  • Their problem in a nutshell
  • My notes on their challenge
  • Questions to ask
  • Supplementary questions
  • Further observations
  • Final statement

Appendix E - Group working jogger

Group working jogger

“A small number of people with complimentary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and an approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable” (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993)

Key components of an Action Learning Set:

  • Shared commitment to solving the problems
  • Committed to developing a clear, common, purpose
  • Willingness to work with others to develop common strategies
  • Courage to ask questions
  • Able to work within agreed group norms
  • Knowledge
  • Power to implement
  • Familiarity
  • Diversity
  • Attendance
  • Size
  • Curiosity

Appendix F - Blog 1: Learnings and experience from councils on progress towards a green economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

Introduction

Towards the end of 2020, the LGA commissioned a development programme entitled: LGA Sector Led Improvement: Creating Local Green Jobs. The objectives were threefold:

As the nation recovers from the devastating impact of COVID-19, the LGA wanted to support a green economic recovery at a local level

This in turn would help local authorities to play their role in achieving the UK’s goal to become carbon zero by 2050

The focus of the project would be on creating the green jobs that would be at the heart of this recovery.

Action Learning Sets were chosen as the vehicle through which this support was to be delivered. Action Learning is recognised as being both effective for problem solving as well as a powerful developmental tool. The work was awarded to Transitional Space consultancy.  

LGA Green Jobs Report

The project is grounded in a piece of research conducted by Ecuity Consulting in collaboration with the LGA. The research culminated in a report entitled: The research culminated in a report entitled: Local Green Jobs: Accelerating a sustainable economic recovery.  The report suggests that the green economy is ‘booming’ and is projected to grow at a rate of 11 per cent a year between now and 2030 compared to 1-2 per cent across the economy as a whole. In 2018 the green economy employed approximately 185,000 people. By 2030 this is set to rise to 694,000 and to 1.18 million by 2050.    

Action Learnings Sets – phase one

Action Learning (AL) is based on the principle that the individual is best placed to address the challenges and problems that they face, but that by asking powerful questions, other Set members can provide new insights and perspectives. 

Following a familiarisation day on 4 February 2021, five Action Learning Sets (ALS) were created from a cohort of seventeen officers and eight members. The programme includes four Action Learning sessions for each ALS over a four-month period. ALS members were invited to bring a challenge to the first session which was linked to local green economic recovery and local green job creation. This blog summarises the findings from phase one.

Types of challenges

The breadth of challenges brought to the ALSs were varied, ranging from specific issues such as tree planting, retrofitting houses and buildings and town centre regeneration, to broader issues such as how green assets can benefit the local economy, understanding what green growth means and how it can be achieved. A sample of the other challenges are listed below: 

  • Developing a sustainable economic development strategy
  • Building the infrastructure for sustainable economic growth
  • Building capacity to support green economic development
  • Raising business awareness of climate change and opportunities linked to it
  • Engaging with and encouraging businesses across the authority to decarbonise
  • Creating a low carbon tourist destination  
  • Overall, retrofitting; working with businesses to both reduce carbon and build capacity; and developing a green economic strategy were the most common issues, being mentioned by over half of the cohort.  

It is clear that this is just the beginning of a process. As a result of the first round of action learning sets there have already been many first steps across authorities and the programme is beginning to lay the foundations over the next four months for green jobs creation.

The programme is aiming to support councils through tricky challenges, providing an opportunity to reflect, begin to build capability and capacity, and to start to catalyse partnerships. Because of the complex nature of some of the challenges an iterative process is called for – for example, working with businesses to focus on green jobs requires that employees with the new skills will be available in the labour market, which will require colleges and universities to be offering those courses.

Learnings from phase one

The following commonalities and themes emerged either during the sessions or from written submissions from the Set members following a period of reflection after the ALS sessions.

Theme one – building understanding of the climate crisis and defining terms

Concerns about levels of understanding of the climate crisis and how terms are being defined were raised during discussions. Ensuring that everyone has the necessary baseline of knowledge to address the challenges that they face as well as ensuring that terms are carefully defined is therefore an important starting point. What is the evidence for and the science that underpins climate change? What are the broader environmental challenges being faced by humanity? How are we defining green economic growth?

To address some of these questions, we circulated video links for Ted talks by Johan Rockstrom from the Stockholm Centre for Resilience. As the climate emergency is the most urgent element of a complex environmental crisis, we also circulated important reports on the degradation of bio-diversity and eco-systems: Living Planet Report (2014) and UK State of Nature Report (2019).

Definition of green economic growth

For the purposes of this project, green economic growth is aligned with the UK Government’s view that the low-carbon and renewable energy economy consists of the following industries, low-carbon and renewable energy economy sectors, and key sub-sectors:

  1. Low-carbon electricity: Wind power, solar PV, hydropower, nuclear, CCS 2.
  2. Low-carbon heat: Renewable heat, heat networks and CHP
  3. Alternative fuel: Bioenergy and hydrogen production
  4. Energy efficient products: Insulation, lighting, monitoring and control systems
  5. Low-carbon services: Low-carbon financial, IT, and advisory services
  6. Low-emission vehicles & infrastructure: Low-emission vehicles & infrastructure, fuel cells and energy storage systems

Theme two – scope, targets and measurement

The second theme that has emerged from phase one is how to scope and measure the challenges being considered. Several of the ALS members reported that a key learning from the questioning they received was the need to refine their challenge, to break it down into manageable aims and objectives and to identify an ‘achievable [objective] for the purpose of the ALS’ over the next four months. The components of this theme (ie scope, targets, measurement) naturally sit within the remit of a green economic strategy, identified by a number of set members as the primary focus of their challenge.

There are several appropriate strategic models that are freely available (see Friends of the Earth and Arup). We have personal experience of using the One Planet Living framework developed by Bio-regional, which we can recommend as a strategic planning tool for a broader sustainability strategy.     

Measuring carbon

Not only will LAs need to measure progress being made against the challenges that they have identified, but they will also need to become proficient at measuring carbon emissions.

The LGA in partnership with Local Partnerships developed the Green House Gas Accounting Tool for the measurement of the LAs own carbon emissions.

Carbonfootprint.com, working in collaboration with the Carbon Disclosure Project is another useful instrument for the measurement of the carbon emissions for individuals, households and businesses.

Giki Zero is a funky site covering similar territory from a lifestyle perspective.

scattercities.com is a must use resource for all local authorities. “SCATTER is a local authority focused emissions tool, built to help create low-carbon local authorities. SCATTER provides local authorities and city regions with the opportunity to standardise their greenhouse gas reporting and align to international frameworks, including the setting of targets in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. It is available free of charge to all local authorities in the UK.”

Theme three – building relationships with stakeholders

In all the officer and member action learning sets the multiplicity of stakeholders and how to engage with them was a consistent theme. Nearly all, if not all, of the challenges required a plan for stakeholder identification, stakeholder mapping and stakeholder engagement.

Some of the key questions posed were;

  • Do we need cross party support and, if so, how do we achieve it?
  • How can we work effectively in partnership with other councils – districts and county or neighbouring authorities?
  • How do we engage with businesses on our sustainable economic strategies and climate agendas?
  • Do we know what the needs of businesses are and do they know ours?
  • How are we collecting the views of and engaging with our citizens?
  • How do we work with Universities and Further Education Colleges on innovation and skills training alongside working with local businesses to increase capacity and capability?
  • How do we ensure Local Enterprise Partnerships have sustainability at the front and centre of their agendas?
  • How do we raise awareness and engage the private rented sector and owner-occupiers as well as social housing and tenants?

It is generally accepted that the complexity, all-consuming nature and urgency of the climate crisis necessitates a collaborative approach where interested parties must work in partnership with each other. Phase One of the AL process made it clear that little can be changed without the support of stakeholders such as colleagues, neighbouring councils, colleges, schools, businesses and perhaps most importantly the local community. Not only do LAs need to work with these stakeholder groups, but in sitting at the heart of local communities LAs can play a critical role in building networks and facilitating the change needed.    

The Action Learning process

ALS members were also asked to reflect on their learnings from the AL process itself. The feedback we have received thus far suggests that participants see AL as a powerful tool for personal growth and development as well as a tool for addressing complex problems. A sample of the comments are summarised below:

AL is a great opportunity for:

  • reflection and collaborative learning;
  • enabling other people to help shape and challenge one’s own ideas;
  • testing one’s assumptions;
  • offering new perspectives and opening minds;
  • providing focus when needed;
  • seeing the commonality and interconnectedness of the challenges they are all facing be it tackling the climate emergency, working on a green recovery or building capacity and capability for green jobs; and
  • providing the sector with an opportunity for collaborative working and learning from each other. 

Top tips

Stakeholders

  • Ensure all stakeholders are on the map (and check who is missing!);
  • Segment the stakeholder groups e.g. business leaders who are advocates, don’t knows, sceptics, etc);
  • Build engagement strategies for each segment. This will involve strategies for developing awareness; educating where necessary; connecting like minded people and organisations; partnering across the three sectors; convening meetings of relevant bodies and interest groups.

Role modelling

In walking the talk individual officers and members need to:

  • Know their own carbon footprint and how they are planning to reduce it;
  • Know their authority’s carbon footprint and have a published action plan to reach net zero; and
  • Know their area’s carbon emissions and be demonstrating collaboratively how they plan to reach net zero.

Appendix G - Blog 2: Leading and Learning Together: Creating Local Green Jobs Action Learning Sets

This developmental programme was set-up by the LGA in 2020 to support a green recovery at a local level making the creation of green jobs the focus. Action Learning Sets (ALS) were chosen as the vehicle for delivering this. The LGA Green Jobs Report was used to inform the programme.

At an early stage it was acknowledged that the scope of the programme would need to be broadened to meet the needs of officers and members attending. Delegates were therefore invited to select challenges that sat within the triangle of: Green Recovery – Green Jobs – Tackling the Climate Emergency.

As a result a broad range of challenges were presented at the five ALSs.

Initial observations made about the creation of green jobs

In Blog 1, it was suggested that we were at the beginning of a process whereby the foundations were being laid over a four-month period for green jobs creation. The implication was that measurements of success might need to be broadened beyond the number of green jobs created. The programme would instead be useful, for example: in supporting delegates to explore complex challenges; in helping delegates to define their challenges; to decide what could be realistically achieved; to help identify key stakeholders; and to start to build the skills and capacity needed for green economic development.

Initial observations made about the process

In Blog 1, it was reported that delegates were starting to identify ways in which the Action Learning process was aiding their thinking in terms of their challenges and in relation to their own development. The following examples were discussed: it encouraged reflection and collaborative learning, it challenged existing ideas, and helped to shape new ways of thinking and offered new perspectives and provided focus. It would, of course, also provide an opportunity to implement ideas between sessions. 

The aim of this blog is to use the findings from Phase 2 of the ALSs to see if these initial observations were borne out in practice.  

ALS Phase 2 – Introduction

Refining challenges and creating an achievable plan  

It became clear at the start of Phase 2, that delegates had used the ALS process to reflect on comments made by fellow group members to re-evaluate their challenge. In most cases, delegates recognised that their challenges had either been too broad or not sufficiently well defined for the purposes of the programme. For example, one delegate specifically acknowledged the complexity of his challenge and the resulting obstacles that would need to be overcome.

Time had then been spent since ALS 1 refining what each delegate wanted to focus upon for the remainder of the programme. Examples included: reducing the number of actual projects contained within the challenge, reducing the number of stakeholders they intended to work with and identifying a suitable definition of green growth. One delegate made more fundamental changes to the way in which she planned to achieve her goal having conducted a risk assessment. Finding ways to keep the challenge manageable was frequently mentioned. These newly refined challenges were then presented to the group at the start of ALS 2.

Individual Sessions

Stakeholders      

The individual sessions were used, in part, to encourage delegates to share what actions they had taken between sessions and to describe what had worked well and what had worked less well, and what the learnings were. In phase 1 it became clear that stakeholders were a critical element in addressing the challenges that had been identified. This ‘theme’ was evident during Phase 2 when delegates explained how they had started the process of engaging with a range of stakeholders.    

Many of the delegates had started with internal stakeholders. One had conducted staff workshops, developing a charter to bring about behavioural change. Others had shared their thinking with their boss, climate change officers, portfolio holders and other cabinet members. Another had engaged with the colleagues who would be responsible for delivery of the challenge.    

There was also evidence of making good use of internal stakeholders with one delegate having a discussion with the Economic Lead about skills gaps and training needs. Some began to build internal capacity by either actively enlisting the support of other teams or by exploring the use of an apprenticeship scheme.     

Issues relating to internal stakeholders also began to arise. For one, they felt it was difficult to get buy-in from fellow officers to the challenge that they were trying to address. For another, political tensions had begun to surface during the discussion, with one delegate saying that gaining real commitment on tackling the climate crisis would be a development area for them. It was mentioned by another delegate that ALSs provided good collaboration across political parties. The need to create allies was mentioned in different Action Learning Sets.  

A range of different external stakeholders had also been contacted between Phase 1 and Phase 2. One delegate is focusing upon anchor institutions (e.g NHS, Further Education (F.E) colleges, etc.) to create green jobs through, for example, procurement and recruitment. From earlier questioning, another was considering the involvement of local environmental groups and parish councils, F.E. colleges and businesses were mentioned by several delegates in their quest to build skills and capacity. Little contact had been made with businesses at this stage.

Observation – delegates clearly recognised the need to gain buy-in from their internal stakeholders before engaging with stakeholders outside of their local authority. If we consider this as an exercise in building a green reputation, reputation theory shows, especially with service providers, that it is essential to build a green reputation internally first. This would be particularly important where there are tensions between internal groups or where people need to enlist the support of colleagues to achieve their objectives and goals.  

In relation to engagement with external stakeholders, real obstacles to capacity building began to emerge with F.E. colleges proving to be particularly resistant to change. The link below proved to be useful in providing delegates with a list of 17 providers of retrofitting training.

Apply for free or subsidised training under the Green Homes Grant skills training competition scheme - GOV.UK

Further resources:

Two Technical Webinars were delivered on this programme:

  • Retrofitting (April 9 2021) 
  • Change and influencing skills (April 14 2021)          

The above topics were requested and chosen by the ALS delegates and provided a deep dive into subjects which needed some further expertise and support in order to address their challenges.

Communication – the importance of communication was becoming apparent during Phase 2 with at least one delegate reporting that they felt it was ‘key’ to success. For one delegate it had, together with engagement, become the focus of their challenge. Whilst she intended to start with the business community, her intention was to evolve her communication strategy around green issues to include the community and schools. Whilst it was deemed to be important to create a sense of urgency some felt that it was important to move away from the notion of ‘project fear’ to ‘project opportunity’.

Data  another theme that emerged during Phase 2 discussions was the importance of making evidence-based decisions through the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data. In fact, in relation to the communication strategy outlined above, a questionnaire was to be sent to businesses first to help inform the approach used. For some delegates, the inclusion of data in their decision making appeared to be a clear example of ‘learning from others’ in the group. 

Reflections

Scale of the Challenge  It was becoming clear during the reflective session that delegates were feeling the weight of expectation on them. Not only was the scale of local challenges described as being ‘vast’ but the ‘fluid’ or ‘ill-defined’ nature of the work was clearly adding to the pressure that some officers were feeling. One delegate mentioned that their local authority had set 150 objectives as part of their climate strategy. Having said this, it was clear from feedback that speaking regularly to those experiencing similar challenges provided an excellent network of support.      

Observation – Clearly defined and realistic goals and objectives are essential to building a motivated workforce. People need to see that their organisation has a plan that is logical and timebound and that their role within it is clearly identified.

Action Learning Process

During their reflections, delegates once again commented on a range of ways in which they had benefitted from the Action Learning process. Some of the observations confirmed comments made during Phase 1 whilst other observations were being made for the first time. The comments have been divided into those that relate more to the team whilst others reflect learning taking place at an individual level.   

Learnings at a Team Level

  • The Action Learning process is ‘informative and supportive’.
  • It ‘provides learning through others’.
  • An external perspective helps ‘avoid tunnel vision’.
  • ‘The expertise of others invaluable’.
  • It is an ‘enjoyable’ experience.

Learnings at an Individual Level

  • It is ‘cathartic and re-energising’.
  • It helps to build self-confidence by showing that ‘I do know things!’
  • It gives ’permission to reflect and focus on a single issue’. 
  • It has allowed me to ‘stretch my thought process’. 

Appendix H - Blog 3: Leading and Learning Together: Creating Local Green Jobs

This is the final blog for the LGA’s developmental programme: Leading and Learning Together: Creating Green Jobs. It summarises what took place during Action Learning Sets (ALSs) 3 and 4 and at the programme’s final event - a symposium of the delegates’ learnings, held on 13 May 2021.

To make sense of the findings from ALSs 3 & 4, it is useful to return to our observations from the first two phases of the Leading and Learning Programme.

Before being able to create green jobs, it was acknowledged early in the programme, that suitable foundations must be laid first. As a result of the Action Learning process the challenges that the delegates had identified were scoped and refined; terms were defined; goals and objectives were set; stakeholders – both internal and external – were contacted; and knowledge and information acquired. All of these were achieved within a supportive and collaborative setting, where assumptions were tested, where expertise and experience were shared and where new perspectives were given. Reflection and opportunities to implement action between ALSs helped to cement learnings. The next section will summarise what took place during the two final ALSs of the Programme. 

Action Learning Sets 3 & 4

Prior to the ALSs in Phase 4, delegates were advised that they would be expected to deliver three outputs by May 31, officially the end of the Programme. Two individual coaching sessions with one of the Transitional Space facilitators were offered to all delegates to assist in their achieving these deliverables. The outputs were identified as: 

  • A SMART Action Plan to discuss at ALS 4
  • Individual Reflections by the Symposium on May 13         
  • Case Study or Blog by 31 May

By Phase 3 of the programme, the benefits of the Action Learning process identified in Phases 1 & 2 were being reinforced. Delegates reported that the questioning process continued to clarify and deepen their thinking, the importance of collaboration was becoming clearer, and the regular meetings had ensured that time was set aside to focus on a single issue. However, it was perhaps during and immediately after ALS 4 that a real shift in momentum became apparent.

Bio-Regional – One Planet Living, Action Planning (OPL)

To assist delegates in developing their SMART Action Plans for ALS 4, information about Bio-Regional’s, One Planet Living Action Planning process (first introduced in blog 1) was sent to all delegates. Some delegates also took advantage of the one-to-one coaching sessions to work on their plans. The benefits of using the OPL framework to develop a ‘green’ strategy are numerous:

  • The ten principles provide a holistic process for tacking all environmental challenges. Whilst they may not all currently be relevant to delegates, they act as a ‘reminder’ of the breadth of this challenge and the dimensions that eventually will need to be addressed, as well as the interconnectedness of climate change issues.
  • The framework has been developed by Bio-regional over 25 years and emerged from the successful creation of their eco village in South London.
  • It provides a simple guide to analysing the context, to develop broad outcomes (or objectives), to create SMART action plans and to identify ways for monitoring success. 

Almost without exception, everyone produced a thoughtful and coherent summary of what they intended to do post the Leading and Learning Programme. Although delegates were at different stages in their thinking and therefore their planning, most delegates were able to communicate short-term plans. A few presented comprehensive plans - some over a longer period, with more than one outcome - clearly showing what actions were to be taken, by when and by whom. Others, however, felt the need to use the time to first conduct a comprehensive contextual analysis. Examples of these will be submitted with the final report.

Reflections – Symposium

This section will attempt to throw some light on what had taken place during and between the ALSs which allowed delegates to make this level of progress over such a relatively short period of time. To do this, we will summarise the team reflections and learnings that were presented at the Symposium on 13 May 2021. These team learnings were an amalgamation of the learnings and reflections of individual team members. All delegates were invited to reflect first on their challenge (or task) related learnings, followed by learnings from the Action Learning process and then finally their individual learnings, this is the structure we will follow here. 

Challenges

Whilst delegates continued to discuss the way in which the ALSs had helped them to shape their projects, to gain new perspectives and to recognise the importance of setting objectives and engaging with stakeholders, new learnings also emerged.

Delegates had clearly found it useful to work with a cross-disciplinary group of people who not only brought new perspectives and knowledge but were also facing similar challenges. At an overarching level, delegates mentioned that there were similar challenges around resources – both financial and people related – around political challenges – with both a small ‘p’ and a large ‘P’ - and in dealing with the sheer scale of the environmental crisis. Against this background it is perhaps not surprising that delegates seemed to find it invaluable to hear about the types of green challenges that others were facing, providing them with a better understanding of the scale of the environmental challenges faced by the sector. It was mentioned on several occasions how the scale of the problem placed officers under considerable pressure.  

Delegates valued the extensive knowledge and experience that others brought to the ALSs – with one delegate observing that there was clearly a wealth of expertise across the sector that should be tapped into. Another observation relating to task, that should not be overlooked, is the importance of communication. Whilst this programme provided only limited time to develop any sort of communication strategy, the critical importance of having a ‘robust’ communication plan and of ‘tailoring’ one’s message, came to light. On a more specific level, the following quote sums up how many delegates were feeling about the apparent shortage of skills to address the different challenges:  

What has come through is the importance throughout all the work on climate change is future skills requirements and the need to equip people and businesses with the knowledge and skills needed for a new economy’

Process

The wealth of knowledge and experience in the teams, brought new perspectives and new ways of thinking about issues. The Action Learning process of attentive listening and asking questions, however, cannot be underestimated. Delegates found that the proactive thinking that was needed from answering questions rather than the passive approach that comes from being given the answer, helped to challenge their assumptions and deepen their thinking. Having to ask questions was also beneficial. One delegate observed how it required a different type of listening and a different level of concentration, allowing them to be present for the other person but also to absorb more of what was being said. Another mentioned that it gives ‘all people equal opportunity to speak’.

The reflective element of Action Learning was also valued by many. Some acknowledged the need, going forward, to set aside time to reflect and review, whilst others reported that it helped to consolidate their thinking. Perhaps one of the most important observations made, was that the AL process is empowering, allowing people to come up with their own answers to the challenge that they face. On a more practical level, the ALSs provided some structure and focus for tackling challenges – a date in the diary when delegates were granted permission to devote time to focusing on just one issue. One team member reported how motivating this was for him. The teams clearly offered emotional as well as practical support. Delegates reported that the ALSs provided a ‘safe’ environment to explore their issues where people were ‘open and honest’ and prepared to learn new ways of doing things.   

Individual Learning

Whilst it is difficult to separate people’s learnings into those related to ‘task’, ‘team’ and ‘individual’, some demarcation can be useful for making sense of a broad range of experiences. Under the ‘individual’ learnings heading, we are trying to move away from what people thought about their experience, to how they felt about it. The relatively limited observations made under this heading suggest some reluctance to explore experiences – perhaps work experiences – from an emotional perspective. That notwithstanding, many people said how supported and stimulated they had felt during the programme and had stressed the importance of creating networks to deliver change. One delegate acknowledged that in thinking more deeply and in listening more intently she had in fact ‘grown’ at a personal level. Another said what a privilege it had been to ‘have been listened to and to have listened to such a thoughtful group of people’.

On a very personal level, one delegate reported that it had come as a surprise to him that that he was more focused on the present than he had previously thought. This growing in self-awareness is perhaps one of the most important outcomes of a development programme such as this. Many people reported that they had grown in confidence whilst others reported a near ‘epiphany’ because of learning more about the climate crisis. For one delegate a significant learning had been ‘coming to terms with [her] sphere of influence’ in relation to her role. Recognising instead those elements of her project which she could change made her feel ‘empowered’. The same delegate reported how she had discovered that she has a strong set of values, and a strong belief in ‘doing the right thing’. She concluded by saying that the programme had been ‘thought provoking from the beginning right through until the end’. Another said that he had become ‘evangelical’ about the process that had been adopted for this programme. One of the teams finished by highlighting the passion that Local Authorities have to drive through change at this critical juncture.          

Conclusions

This has undoubtedly been a powerful programme for the 20 delegates who took part in a variety of ways. Nearly all of them have created short term Action Plans for laying the necessary foundations to create ‘green jobs’. They have also experienced a new, respectful way to work as teams, bringing out the best in themselves and in others, and in doing so have learnt important things about themselves.