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scrutinising climate changeWhat questions should council scrutiny panels and members of the public ask when considering climate action plans drawn up by local authorities? A new guide, published today by the Local Government Association (LGA) sets out ten such questions which will help all councils and policymakers embed the necessary environmental, social and cultural changes that communities need to build resilience in the face of climate change.

The LGA said that the questions in the report are designed to invite further questions from council officers and members which will help to identify and understand local needs, including how councils will be adapting their climate change action plans in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Written with the Centre for Public Scrutiny, the report can support councils to engage with partners to channel local views, as well as playing a formal accountability role as councils make public commitments to climate action.

‘Climate change and the challenges it brings have been thrown into sharper focus during the coronavirus pandemic, demonstrating the need for places and communities to become more resilient,’ said Cllr Liz Green, vice chair of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board.

‘The impact of climate change cuts across all communities, council departments and functions, and our guide will help leaders to continue to deliver effective responses through scrutinising and testing climate action plans.

‘We hope that our report will help councils to explore questioning, identify key stakeholders, plan effective scrutiny work and consider the impacts that scrutiny can play in terms of delivering on climate issues.’

The LGA is hosting a webinar for councils on September 18 2020 to outline a practical approach for scrutineers to understand and seek oversight on climate action in their localities.

The questions

  1. How well does the council understand the need to take action locally?
  2. How does the council’s leadership champion and direct action on climate change?
  3. How is the council adopting a clear and detailed strategic plan, and how is it mainstreaming climate change mitigation and adaptation?
  4. Has the council reviewed its investment strategy, supply chains and procurement models to give due consideration to climate change impacts?
  5. How is the council integrating sustainability and resilience into its transport and energy plans?
  6. How is the council planning to understand and act on the need to adapt existing properties and estates to address the impacts of climate change – and to plan for new housing stock which is resilient to these impacts?
  7. How is the council promoting climate education, diversifying the labour market and focusing on sectors that are sustainable?
  8. What measures are being taken to ensure that health and social care systems will be resilient with the extra pressures they will come underdue to climate change?
  9. How does the council identify those who are most at risk from the impacts of climate change, and what is being done to assist the most vulnerable?
  10. How is the council supporting and working with all relevant private and civic actors in the area towards climate change mitigation and adaptation?

Download the guide

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