There are a range of departments, organisations and individuals whose involvement in the process of developing, implementing and delivering Climate Change PPS policy through structured consultation will add value to the work, make your final policy more effective and ensure it is relevant to the local context.
From April 2009, a new statutory ‘Duty to Involve’ applies to all local authorities (as part of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007). The duty forms an important part of the approach you should take when undertaking consultation and engagement work.
During the development of your evidence base, it is often beneficial to engage with stakeholders in a structured way during the early development of policy and particularly when discussing early iterations of opportunity identification and the energy opportunities plan. Later involvement with broader groups should take place once available opportunities and policy direction have been refined.
During the establishment of the energy baseline, your stakeholder engagement should focus on obtaining some of the necessary information (such as understanding the potential of specific anchor loads, identifying owners of certain sites, understanding the mix of developments and so on). You should also that the information that you, or your consultant, are gathering is correct.
You should use this process to generate cross-department and broader support for the direction and aims of your policy.
As noted in the Local Government Association guidance, Local Strategic Partnerships may be able to help you identify current vulnerabilities. Many people internally and externally will have valuable knowledge about the local community and services. Although they may not believe they have relevant insight in terms of future climate change, it may be helpful to ask them how members of the partnership are preparing to respond to extreme weather events. Good stakeholder engagement will help you ensure robust adaptation policy which is specific for your area.
This page sets out those parties that you should consider consulting with during the preparation of your evidence base as well as discussing when to engage and the role each should play.
Other Local Authority departments and other public sector bodies:
When to engage: Principally, during the development and implementation of planning policy, but departments who deal with issues such as waste can be very useful in the reviewing of specific local opportunities and can often represent an important opportunity themselves (such as through sites identified for Energy from Waste schemes). Your engagement audience for sustainable energy may not be the same as that for climate change adaptation, so we’ve listed below some suggestions of whom you may wish to engage in each case, both within your authority and among other public sector bodies.
For sustainable energy, you should look to involve those responsible for issues such as:
- Energy management in the corporate estate, including schools, public buildings, leisure centres, etc.
- Waste management (due to the potential connection with energy from waste)
- Procurement and delivery of new development (e.g. a ’project champions‘ team)
- Development management
- Environment (including the Environment Agency)
Role: Sharing knowledge, experience and resources between departments will be important to planning policy making and development management.
For adaptation, your engagement audience will include many of those listed above but may also include: local and regional biodiversity partnerships, risk managers, social services and emergency services, local voluntary and community groups.
Role: drawing on experience, gathering relevant data (such as EA flood maps, local information on species fragmentation, vulnerable groups and so on) and putting policy into a local context.
Despite a different focus, there may well be crossovers between sustainable energy and adaptation stakeholders which you should seek to exploit. For instance, the Environment Agency’s information on flooding will be pertinent to your consideration of sites for standalone energy generation.
Finally, you should ensure you engage any other officers or teams who have a responsibility for issues presented by climate change.
When to engage: Generally, throughout by ensuring they are aware of the work you are doing and specifically at the key stages of developing your policy and in reviewing specific local opportunities.
Role: To ensure the engagement and involvement of all other groups at relevant stages.
When to engage: Throughout the planning process, including policy development and specific project applications.
Role: The main role for developers is to help you test the policies you are considering by drawing on their understanding of the feasibility and viability or policy / targets as well as making comment on the planning and development management processes
Landowner and property owners
When to engage: Significant local landowners should be encouraged to participate in policy development. Landowners in this context might be organisations such as the higher education institutions, major private land owners, social housing providers, health trusts and so on.
Role: Landowners involvement in consultation usually falls to individuals. On a local level, landowners should be involved in the identification and development of sites for renewable energy.
Local Strategic Partnerships
When to engage: It is important to involve LSPs at all stages of developing planning policy as they can often bring a balanced view and represent broad opinion.
Role: LSPs are intended to promote and ensure involvement from all sides in the development of planning policy. Their involvement will help to ensure that the impact of your policies will be considered from a broad audience viewpoint as well as to advise whether and/or how the policies are contributing to the delivery of their Sustainable Community Strategy.
Whilst broad consultation has a slightly different focus to the stakeholder engagement described here, it should form part of your overall strategy for generating support for your policy.
Consultation and engagement is a two way process. It involves informing, listening and responding as well as asking questions to gain a deeper understanding of people’s views and concerns.
In 2007, the Government published the ‘Government Code of Practice’ following a review of its own consultation practices. (The web page was archived after November 2008, but the document can be found here.) This set out a seven-step process that may help you develop your own engagement and consulation programme. The seven steps set out in the CoP are:
1. When to consult
2. Duration of consultation exercise
3. Clarity of scope and impact
4. Accessibility of consultation exercises
5. The burden of consultation exercises
6. Responsiveness of consultation exercises
7. Capacity to consult.