A Community-led Energy Action Plan is the main method of recording and communicating the findings and solutions produced throughout the CLEP process.
The plan should:
- be co-produced with the group, and potentially the wider community;
- feedback the group’s key findings in relation to the energy themes;
- explain how these findings relate to pre-existing data for the area (e.g. group insights about fuel poverty which are complemented by local authority data on fuel poverty in the area);
- outline the actions the group wants to be taken and who is responsible for them.
A Community-led Energy Action Plan should act as a resource the neighbourhood group can use to engage further with the local community and be a well-communicated community-backed diagnosis of challenges, opportunities and solutions in a neighbourhood which can inform local authority and stakeholder climate and local planning strategies.
Co-producing the Oldham Energy Futures Community-led Energy Action Plans
The co-production of the Community-led Energy Action Plans can be delivered solely through engagement with the neighbourhood group or could include further public engagement to test findings and proposed solutions. This engagement with the wider community to support the production of the action plan can be adapted to meet the group’s needs. Tools which could be used for wider engagement to test the findings and solutions developed by the group include open meetings or surveys.
The Oldham Energy Futures team incorporated two final workshops with the neighbourhood groups to co-produce their Community-led Energy Action Plans.
Before the first of the two workshops, the delivery team collated the data harvested throughout the workshops to present the issues and solutions identified by the neighbourhood groups. Both groups then took part in a workshop where they participated in a World Café style planning exercise to deepen the solutions identified through the workshops.
Sustainable transport, energy efficiency in the home and renewable energy generation were used as themes at different “stations” where group members could discuss the actions across each theme. The conversations focussed on discussing and documenting:
- a title and two sentence description of the action/activity;
- what the aim of the activity is and why it should happen;
- who the activity is for (who the audience is; who the customers are; who benefits);
- whether it should happen now, soon, or later;
- what the service or activity being delivered is;
- who the partner organisations are who would need to be involved;
- what the key costs are and what the key sources of income are.
The delivery team used the neighbourhood groups’ feedback to shape the Community-led Energy Action Plans. The team produced documents which articulated the process the groups had been through, the groups’ findings and proposed solutions and the activities which had been identified as community action projects.
The delivery team then presented draft Community-led Energy Action Plans at the second workshop for each group, continuing this co-productive approach. The team sought to gain the groups’ feedback and wanted them to sense check the content and its presentation based on what they needed the document to do with regards to its audience and function.
At this workshop the team laid out a paper print out of the document on a long table to present it to the group and provided copies to read. The team then asked the following questions to further shape the action plans.
- Is there anything missing or anything that it would be good to include in the action plan?
- With regard to the actions and visual plan, have all the actions in the list and map produced been captured?
- Is there anything missing?
- Have the actions been correctly prioritised?
- Have all the key findings been captured in the list?
- Are there any missing?
- A list of data sources was provided in the appendix – were the data sources appropriate and should they be included in the final document?
- With regards to audience and the document’s accessibility, are the graphics ok?
- Would anything else be useful?
The group were asked to mark any suggestions and anything they liked or wanted to change using sticky dots and corresponding post-it notes, stuck directly to the document on the table.
This input was used to further shape the documents. It inspired the creation of a more digestible version of the key points and actions which the groups could use to engage further with their communities.
See the full Community-led Energy Action Plans for Westwood and Sholver below.
We also produced handy summary documents to help the two groups share their findings within the community.
Communicating with the community
Both groups participating in Oldham Energy Futures wanted to use the Community-led Energy Action Plans as a springboard to engage further with the community – reflected during the co-production process. The Community-led Energy Action Plans were adapted to create additional two-page poster boards better suited to initiate conversations with local residents.
The groups requested that the boards included:
- stories or quotes about local energy experiences;
- a shorter summary of the Oldham Energy Futures process to support community engagement work;
- a clear set of demands for local stakeholders;
a summary of the community action project work done to date and next steps the neighbourhood groups hope to achieve moving forwards with these projects (reflecting the use of the imagining workshops outlined in amplify).
Speaking to stakeholders
Neighbourhood group engagement with strategic stakeholders is important to progress actions identified in their action plans, not least because some of the actions will be asks of these stakeholders. Writing the Community-led Energy Action Plan with local stakeholders as an audience will be important to engage decision makers.
Establishing relationships with strategic stakeholders in the area when setting up the CLEP process will make engaging with them following the creation of the Community-led Energy Action Plan easier.
The complete Community-led Energy Action Plans created for Westwood and Sholver included specific actions aligned to strategic stakeholders, including First Choice Homes, Oldham Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and Community Energy England. Writing the document with this audience in mind can be useful to help the neighbourhood group open a dialogue with strategic stakeholders and gives them the material needed to speak authoritatively about the data gathered and solutions proposed through the CLEP process.