Local Climate Engagement Programme Evaluation

The Local Climate Engagement Programme (LCE) aimed to help ensure that the UK can reach its net zero target. It provides local authorities and their partners in England with support to undertake or commission high quality, inclusive public engagement in climate decision-making to help shape their strategies, policies, services, initiatives or decisions. On the 12th February 2024 Involve published the part 1 external evaluation report.

Shared Future CIC has supported this work in Lancaster and Derbyshire. Within the evaluation covering the period of July 2022 to September 2023 the Chief Executive at Lancaster City Council (LCC) explained how LCE had helped their Council understand the need for different messaging to engage different groups in climate discussions, and made them think differently about what constitutes real engagement:

“Councils aren’t always that good at consultation, but we have to consult on a lot of things. So we use the traditional website surveys and public hall meetings… The work that we’re undertaking at the moment [with LCE] has really shifted our view on what consultation and engagement could look like.”

Deliberative workshop as part of the LCE programme in Lancaster

Our work in Lancaster had started sometime before LCE. Lancaster City Council (LCC) had already undertaken a people’s jury on climate in 2021. That came up with recommendations across five themes. Lancaster chose one of these, travel, as the focus of their new LCE work. Three different engagement activities were delivered: Community Explorers (trained community researchers), Pol.is (an online platform seeking a wide variety of opinion) and a series of ‘Digging Deeper’ deliberative workshops, all facilitated by Shared Future CIC

The online platform (using Pol.is) was promoted extensively by LCC and partners, with many teams sending it out through their networks and social media channels. The work was successful; 524 people voted, with an average of 80 votes per voter. Respondents submitted an additional 400 statements on the topic of travel and mobility around the district. Several LCC officers felt that the Community Explorers, most of whom were members of the original jury, reached people the council wouldn’t have.

One LCC officer felt strongly that they wouldn’t have been able to undertake the work without the motivation, resources and credibility brought by LCE:

“I cannot emphasise how important programmes [like LCE] are. They allow us to deliver engagement with wider breadth and depth which in turn helps us to better work with communities and deliver services.”

You can download the full evaluation report on Involve’s website.

Read the executive summary report here.