1. Matters arising from previous minutes
Minutes of the previous meeting were accepted as a true record of the meeting.
Action carried over:
ACTION: Secretariat to prepare an infographic describing the skills and experience required by each theme board, which could be shared with communities for them to evaluate their own skills gaps.
ACTION: Emily has contacted the chair of the Devon Planning Officers Group for James and Tim to attend for a 30 minute slot. This is likely to be a date in October.
ACTION: Charlotte and Emily to consider how a business badge system could work.
Gill noted that this badge could be related to public sector procurement. I.e. if the business has the accreditation, then they’re able to access public sector procurement processes. Ian said that Plymouth has Charter Mark and Exeter has Green Accord. Could they be combined? Lyndis added that events surrounding the awarding of the badge/accreditation is what’s needed to keep media attention.
2. Progress Report
Emily presented the Progress Report and asked for questions and comments. Emily highlighted the press and community events coverage that accompanied the launch of the Devon Carbon Plan.
Patrick asked that when the slide deck is prepared for the business community that those get circulated to the Task Force for onwards dissemination.
ACTION: Emily to circulate business slide deck to the Task Force members.
Patrick asked whether the university has been involved in the latest workshops about the magnitude and urgency scoring of the risks in the emerging Adaptation Plan. Emily said they hadn’t but had been invited.
Sue highlighted the new valley park in Exeter at Northbrook, which will be joining up wildlife habitats within the city and will be providing benefits for nature and people. Tim added that a similar approach is underway on the Powderham Estate.
Tim said that the Great South West is commencing a programme to deliver £1.5m of energy projects. Doug will be attending a workshop on this in November.
Doug described concerns about the future governance setup for the partnership. Diagram provided here for context:
In summary the concerns are:
- The development of this structure was focussed on oversight – monitoring progress and reporting issues – rather than enabling delivery of the Plans and collaboration, which is vital.
- Six Theme Boards meeting quarterly means an additional 24 meetings each year for the Secretariat (Emily and ½ of Doug) to schedule and prepare documentation for. Is this a good use of time (including the time of the attendees) when practical delivery is so crucial?
- The prospect for inter-theme opportunities and collaborations will only occur at the Response Group. But is this at the right level? These conversations need to be occurring between the people devising and delivering projects, most of whom are not at the Response Group.
- Not enough interconnection between theme boards which is needed to guard against contrary policies/themes fighting against each other
- This is an example of traditional structures, which haven’t been effective in the past and don’t serve the purpose of achieving rapid net-zero – we need to try something new. We need something flexible and something that encourages innovation.
- Trying to do too much with it – not enough people to sit in all the boxes
The Task Force AGREED that the Response Group should be encouraged to look at alternatives.
ACTION: Secretariat to recommend to the Response Group that it undertakes a review of the proposed governance.
The Task Force then brainstormed alternatives. Points to consider were:
- Could be a tension between streamlining the structure and the need for representation from different types of people and communities. Could instead keep diversity to the Forum, rather than on the board(s) as the board would just highlight where projects are not being delivered in an inclusive fashion. Diversity is important in the design of the projects and in the Climate Change Forum.
- Activities will have different frequencies needed for their monitoring. Not every project will have an update every quarter.
- Need sharp timelines about delivery. Need to visualise how frequently the groups are meeting. This will make it more action-oriented with when we estimate actions to be done.
Ideas that emerged from the brainstorm were:
- Combine the theme boards into one board that has sub-groups within it that communicate under their own steam between meetings
- One board could be issue driven rather than output or activity driven. Focus on unblocking things.
- Not all the working groups need to report each quarter.
- Need to empower people to deliver. Could allocate a lead for each priority action in the Carbon Plan to report back into the system.
- What would the purpose of the governance structure be for people already delivering projects? What do they need? What’s the added value the structure is providing?
- Why split the experts (the people on the theme boards) from the decision makers (the senior managers on the Response Group)?
- How about one day per quarter to get the whole system in the room. This would need facilitated sessions. Allowing sufficient time for breaks to allow free conversation would be necessary.
- Would give more time for preparation of needed paperwork, rather than frequent meetings with different boards every couple of weeks
- Issues that people feel are most important will naturally rise to the surface during discussion
- We could get regular publicity around it to continue the attention we’ve gathered from the DCP launch
- Live content for social media, the website etc.
- This approach would have greater appeal to the business community and others who would rather dip in and out
- Integrate an air of celebration where it is due.
- We could host the meeting in a different place in Devon each time which could help to show that this is a county-wide project
Patrick offered to explore whether political science colleagues at the University of Exeter would have advice for the partnership.
ACTION: If the Response Group is receptive, the Secretariat to involve the Task Force further in developing proposals.