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SSN Research: approach & my impressions
64 individuals interviewed (some in group sessions)
39 individuals from 28 local authorities
8 SSN Steering Group
9 from Scottish Government
8 SENCE members
33 Survey Monkey responses
structured conversations
individuals perspective
Survey Monkey and forced rankings
My impressions
overwhelmingly positive – SSN works
willingness to give time
mature attitudes
common themes and minority views
confirmation of what we already knew – or thought we did!
SSN Research: strengths & weaknesses
Strengths, Weaknesses/ Challenges
• welcome focus on local authorities
relevant programme priorities
improvements welcome
value of conference?
time for networking?
difficulties with events?
spread too thin?
help get the message across to others
networking & practice is “bread & butter”
too policy focused?
SSN services good quality & useful
climate change dominant for now
tension climate change & sustainable
balance policy & practice about right
community planning & diluting the focus?
speaking to the converted
group hug!
core team are critical to success
Ideas & Issues
• what type of organisation should
SSN be in the future?
• is the annual conference the best
use of SSN resources?
• how much time should be given
to improving remote access to
• does it matter that SSN members
don’t talk about the Steering
SSN Research: future provision
Priorities and Challenges
climate change is the top priority
carbon management
focus will be on statutory duties and outcomes with a push to more joined up working
but leadership and decision making?
but behaviour change, communication & community engagement?
Members would like SSN to provide:
climate change “what” and “how to” guides
case studies and study visits – part of quarterlies
networking the networks
provision for elected members – but survey monkey?
capacity building - tailored introductory provision
benchmarking and accreditation – but lots of reporting mechanisms?
horizon scanning and scenarios – part of quarterlies? – but survey monkey?
“No” to SSN Awards Scheme
SSN Research: future provision
funded projects, ideas & issues
Funded Projects
 Ideas include:
behaviour change, community
engagement, effective communication
low carbon economy and alternatives
to GDP
sustainable consumption (and food)
fully rounded impact appraisal
(economic, social & environmental/
emissions trading models and public
sector incentives
The characteristics of these ideas were:
strong policy drivers
imperfect knowledge of how to do
potential for funding
cross boundary and organisations
combining policy approaches
scale up local good
Ideas & Issues
Are there any critical gaps between the plan
for 2010/11 and this research? Does it
suggest areas for more/less focus?
Where can we make the most difference to
mainstreaming? What is “good enough”
SSN delivery?
How smart can we be in achieving multiple
wins from our work?
Are there others better placed to deliver
some activities?
SSN Research: improving service delivery
Communication & Engagement
SSN brand is strong with the conference hugely helpful
SSN has relationships with the right organisations but
some require harder work than others
need to engage senior management and elected
Membership & Funding
how does membership work – two way traffic?
widening the membership whilst maintaining trust
community planning partners
corporate membership – potential benefits
membership fees
yes, no, maybe and reasonable fees
Survey Monkey much more negative
other sources of funding
Scottish Government should be the main funder
“pragmatic” event sponsorship
EU, secondments, private sector contributions (utilities)
and SSN as a consultancy
don’t chase the money
Ideas & Issues
How do we secure a
more active contribution
from more members?
What should be done to
clarify/change the terms
of membership?
What further sources of
funding should be
SSN Research: external insights
Scottish Government Themes
making real progress with climate change
sustainable development is still important
systems thinking & mediation
elected members
volunteering, third sector & social
Leading by Example
sustainable consumption
resource scarcity & natural capital
improving decision making
crowded organisational landscape
Arbuthnott Review and joint working
community development
new cross boundary models
Potential SSN Contribution
public sector duty consultation and
consistent approach to delivery?
making progress on climate change
through collaboration, networking
and capacity building
SSN help to share good practice in
behaviour change across ALL
sharing good practice on carbon
appraisal and improved reporting
the international agenda and the
low carbon economy – links to key
low carbon economy and economic strategy
• value SSN as an effective local authority network
• common drivers around climate change, sustainable development and SOA
• make full use of tools such as LFP and LCLIPs
SSN Research : recommendations & next
SSN is working well with an appetite for more
rolling programme, resources and realism
doing things differently rather than doing different things
Delivery in 2010/11
“Its climate change stupid!”
– Starting with policy and moving quickly to practice
engage & influence senior decision makers
– capacity building, membership & key networks
multiple wins from the same input
– making the best use of past, present and future work
– smart planning and design
more active engagement from more members
– Networking and good practice
– Terms of membership
Exploration in 2010/11
new sources of funding and resources
systems thinking & mediation
more geographically specific and cross sector approaches
tools & best practice for behaviour change, community
engagement & communication
Next Steps
further review after the
finalise reports
follow-up work on specific
– desk research
– work packages for
SSN Research: discussion papers
APM focused on 3 topics
– How to secure senior level engagement
– Smart ways of working – how to make use of existing assets and score multiple
– “Ask not what SSN can do for you, but what you can do for SSN
3 discussion papers developed and discussed at SSN Steering Group 26 April
– Future SSN Funding
– Enhanced SSN Membership
– Conference Design & Funding
– Climate change and sustainable development
– Economic climate (spending review timetable)
– UK & Scottish parliamentary elections
– Building for current strengths to meet members future needs
– SSN working well and no pressing financial issues
SSN Research: discussion papers
Future SSN Funding
– Current position
core team small & fully utilised
annual conference can generate some income
significant in-kind contributions and goodwill
– Issues
efficiency effectiveness & long-term thinking
sources of funding
fall back position
in-kind contributions
outcomes & SOA
SSN Research: discussion papers (Funding)
Programme priorities
Obvious and sensible
Risk could result in 4
different funding streams
Exploit synergies to secure
win wins
Multiple funders
Promote a single,
combined bid to Scottish
Funded development
Lots of possibilities
No obvious front-runners
Strategically opportunistic –
develop individual projects
as suitable opportunities
Capacity building
Key issue for members and
Require development funds
Explore the market and
develop an outline proposal
Source of new SSN
CPD/Accreditation issues?
Attract new members
secondments & work
Safety net for core team
Additional resource to
deliver activities
Early discussion in principle
with potential fundersa
Transition issues with
consultancy role
Strategically opportunistic
for now
Often short-term and
requires more
management input
Develop further if funding
risks increase
SSN research: discussion papers (Funding)
Annual conference
Build on success
Dilution of SSN brand
Maximise income from
Risk of reduced focus on
SSN issues
Agree preferred approach
and develop a proposal
Reduce risk
Membership fees
Stable, long-term income
Collection from 32
Further demonstrates
members commitment
Time to test and design
Secure short term
sponsorship 2010
Test with senior members
and their colleagues
EU programmes
Some large sums of money
Time consuming to bid and
to monitor if successful
SSN well networked
Many funds provide partial
coverage of Scotland
Growing opportunity
Climate change is poorly
Scotland does well in
accessing monies
KSB charitable status
Public sector focus
Explore with a LA funding
officer and Scotland Europa
Research the top 20 grantmakers and the scale and
nature of the opportunity
SSN Research: discussion paper
Explicit membership
Increased administrative
Develop a simple model for
approval and implement –
in the light of any other
planned developments for
SSN membership
Supports cross sector
working & CPP
LA members less willing to
Richer pool of experience
material (and funding?)
How define eligibility
(increased complexity)?
Genuine conundrum –
revisit and extend when/if
maturity allows
Strengthens relationships
Reduced focus on LA –
Secure more senior
commitment & influence
Increased administrative
effort (but 32 LA)
Support closer relationships
with key senior groups
Potential to lose some LA
Stable, long-term income
Administrative burden
Demonstrates the value of
SSN to members
Timing – current context
Membership is valued
Benefits of membership are
clear – two way
Widening the
Corporate LA
Membership fees
Enhances members sense
of ownership
Draft an approach for
consideration – maximise
pros and minimise cons
Risk that core practitioner
members feel more distant
from SSN
Potential to lose some LA
Include as part of corporate
membership approach to
reduce cons
SSN Research: discusssion paper
3 ideas for the design & funding of the annual SSN conference
– Secure sponsorship from the private/public sector
– Take care not to dilute the quality or content of the conference
Strategic alliance
– Annual flagship conferences to inspire progress
– Active engagement and support of existing key groups
– Demonstrate leadership across sectors
– Encourage new and deeper collaboration, networking & capacity building
– Focus on win wins and outcome delivery
Senior decision makers
– Key way to secure necessary scale and pace of change
– Actively tailor the marketing, content & structure of the event – two-stage conference?
– Delivered in partnership with COSLA and SOLACE?
SSN Research: discussion papers
Bringing together speakers, experts & delegates from a
mix of sectors to share inspiration, progress, challenges &
future plans
Losing relevance by trying to be all things to all people – a
concern for all groups including SSN
Increased alignment between sectors, groups & events
Building on the success and track record of the SSN
conference to deliver a flagship Scottish event
Managing demand and keeping to a manageable scale
Managing a more complex organisational process,
maintaining quality and flexibility – a challenge for SSN
Building on the relationships SSN has with many of these
key groups
Demonstrating real cross-sectoral leadership to tackle
sustainable development climate change in Scotland
Securing 3 years funding and resources
Identifying potential for new or deeper collaboration,
networking and capacity building – win wins
Absence of a common language, mutual respect and
genuine shared priorities & outcomes between sectors
Diluting the SSN brand
Tensions with groups own events
SSN Research: discussion papers
Take on board comments from Steering Group and today
Progress explicit membership process
Progress sponsorship for SSN Conference 2010
Detailed discussions with KSB Funding Development Officer – invite to attend future
Steering Group meeting
Maintain development of the ideas outlined in the discussion papers
– Realistic
– Flexible
– Strategically opportunistic