Sefton Council Strategic Energy Review
Effective delivery of energy management, carbon reduction & affordable warmth activity
Project duration: May 2010 to July 2010
Sefton Council appointed the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) to undertake a short review of its existing strategy and associated operational delivery, covering its energy management, carbon reduction and affordable warmth activity. Sefton has a strong repuation in relation to sustainable energy. Maintaining this leading position requires committment and adequate resources, both for environmental benefit and to secure future economically valuable investment. The comissioned review was an evaluation of the progress being made to meet the Council’s strategic objectives, and the Council’s ability to respond to new challenges.
The approach taken by CSE to the Strategic Energy Review was to supplement desk top analysis of written strategies, progress reports and staff interviews, with efforts to stimulate engagement across the Council with its role and performance in delivering sustainable energy objectives.
Work with other local authorities by CSE has demonstrated the value of taking this cross-organisation self-assessment approach, not least to assist a range of officers in different departments and functions to understand how their own work influences the Council’s ability to deliver its carbon reduction and/or affordable warmth objectives.
Overall, the Strategic Energy Review included:
- A review of key strategy documents and annual reports of progress.
- Interviews with key officers within the energy team to explore their experiences, their impact, key success factors, obstacles to progress and, particularly, how their work was changing over time and their expectations of the future.
- Analysis, where possible, of the Council’s performance in key areas against its Merseyside neighbours and also its ‘family group’ (as defined by CIPFA/Audit Commission) for comparative purposes.
- An assessment of current resources committed to the delivery of these objectives and their fitness for purpose, together with consideration of the way in which the case for resources has been made (and may best be made in future).
- A workshop-led self-assessment of the council’s approach and delivery of carbon reduction activities across the area, using CSE’s Local Carbon Management Matrix.
- An assessment of the council’s approach and delivery of affordable warmth activities, using CSE’s Local Fuel Poverty Matrix.
The report makes recommendations relating to making the case to sustain the resourcing of a full Energy Team, improving cross-organisation working, and exploring how, with limited staff, to resource the design and development of energy-related projects for external funding.
CSE has a combination of technical and monitoring skills, policy knowledge and strategy experience, and so were well suited to deliver this project for Sefton. We have worked extensively for central and local government on carbon reduction strategy and reporting, developing the Regional and Local Carbon Management Matrix for Defra in 2005 (updated in 2009). We have a detailed understanding of the role that local authorities can play with respect to the climate change agenda. For example, LGA Climate Change Commission appointed us to prepare a significant report examining the priorities for local authority performance improvement in carbon management, and for analysing factors which are related to local levels of carbon emissions.
Image: flickr, Alison Benbow, reproduced under a Creative Commons license.