Customer story: Camden Council, UK

Consultation Process
'screenshot of 'Camden Council, UK
'screenshot of 'Camden Council, UK

Consulting on Climate Action Plans

Camden London Borough Council, UK, is one of 32 boroughs in the capital, with a population of more than 250,000 people.

Like every local authority in the UK, Camden are doing a lot of hard thinking about the impacts of climate change and their own climate response.

To that end, in 2019, the Council began work on an 'ambitious' five-year Climate Action Plan. Crucially, this was done in consultation with citizens – through a wide-reaching programme of engagement, including a dedicated Citizens' Assembly and formal online survey.

As Camden put it: 'in order to develop a borough-wide response, the council held the UK’s first Citizens’ Assembly on the climate crisis as part of an unprecedented community engagement process around Climate Action.'

Citizens' Assemblies alongside other approaches

When getting public input on the climate crisis, Camden wanted to ensure they had both depth of engagement and breadth of reach. They wanted to combine quantitative and qualitative methods, and to have a multi-stage process – moving from initial idea-gathering towards detailed policy review.

So they began by convening the UK’s first Citizens’ Assembly on the climate crisis. 'Residents with a broad range of experiences and backgrounds, who closely reflected the demographics of the borough, came together over three days to learn about climate change and shape a new Climate Action Plan for Camden.'

The Citizens’ Assembly concluded with 17 key recommendations, across four main themes (people, spaces, buildings and organisations). These recommendations were taken forward to a full Council meeting, where the council committed to 'take all the action it can to make Camden net zero carbon by 2030' – and to 'deliver on the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly.'

Open, online consultation

Following this pledge, the Council produced a draft of a proposed Climate Action Plan. The 11 page document was made publicly available and opened up for review and comment over the course of a 6-week consultation period. Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the council primarily ran this via an online consultation – using Citizen Space, the next-generation citizen engagement platform from Delib. The council also committed to arrange meetings with 'community groups, Citizens’ Assembly members and those unable to use the online consultation platform'.

The council published the consultation on their Citizen Space hub, making it easy for any resident to find and participate in. The consultation itself was well-presented, with plenty of information in plain English and a clear, easy-to-follow format. And the full proposed plan was available both as a downloadable document and embedded within the survey, meaning participants had easy access to all the information at the point of response – perfect for ensuring informed, considered feedback.

A collaborative Climate Action Plan

At a Cabinet meeting, 3 months from the closure of the consultation, Camden's Cabinet reviewed and approved the Climate Action Plan: 'a five-year programme of projects and activities that brings to life a vision of a zero carbon borough' – created in collaboration with the people and organisations of Camden.

We have turned the citizens’ proposals into borough-wide policies and community-led action in this Climate Action Plan. This Action Plan represents the culmination of this work, and defines the first of two five year plans for how we will move towards zero carbon and address the crisis.

Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden

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