Heat in buildings - Scotland's National Public Energy Agency call for evidence: analysis of responses

Results of a call for evidence which ran from November 2021 to February 2022. This supported our Programme for Government commitment to establish a new National Public Energy Agency by 2025 to lead and coordinate heat and energy efficiency retrofit in Scotland.



1. Scotland has one of the most ambitious climate targets in the world, with its Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 setting out a legally binding target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2045, and with interim statutory reductions of 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2040.

2. The Heat in Buildings Strategy, published by the Scottish Government on 7 October 2021, focuses on heating system change and set out a number of actions and proposals for transforming buildings and the systems that supply their heat to ensure that all buildings reach zero emissions by 2045. In order to achieve the necessary transformational change, the Scottish Government has committed at least £1.8 billion investment over the current Parliamentary period to support the decarbonisation of heat in Scotland, in line with targets. For example, the Scottish Government is committed to the decarbonisation of heat across 1 million homes and 50,000 non-domestic (equivalent) buildings by 2030.

3. A key element of this strategy is the establishment of a new, dedicated National Public Energy Agency by 2025 which would "coordinate and accelerate delivery of heat and efficiency work, inform and educate the public on the changes required, provide expert advice to national and local government, and work with public, private and third sector partners to deliver this transformational national project".[1]

4. In recognition of the need to act as quickly as possible in tackling climate change challenges, the Scottish Government is already working on developing a virtual Agency which will be launched by September 2022. This virtual body will be established initially as a discrete delivery mechanism within the Scottish Government, supported by a new independent Strategic Board to oversee its work.

5. The National Public Energy Agency will take a people-centred approach to delivery, supporting people and businesses to switch their heating systems and improve the energy efficiency of all buildings, while working in partnership with public, private and third sectors to achieve a coordinated approach across the wider heat decarbonisation delivery agenda in Scotland. The Scottish Government is keen to ensure the new Agency has the support of the wider delivery landscape and can meet the needs of a wide range of end users as Scotland moves towards heat decarbonisation. As such, there is a need to consider the role and responsibilities of the Agency, its delivery functions, its structure and governance, how it will adopt a strategic leadership role and work with partners and stakeholders; and its strategic purpose and functions.

6. In November 2021, a Call for Evidence was launched to gather views which would help inform development of a broader evidence base to inform the design of the new Agency. The Call for Evidence looked for examples of previous or existing bodies or organisation types that have a specific delivery remit and which have successfully achieved significant change at a societal, sectoral and / or infrastructure level through innovative programme design, leadership and coordination of the wider landscape. Respondents were also asked to provide evidence of the value, opportunities and challenges offered by establishing this body on a statutory footing.

7. The findings of this Call for Evidence will be used to inform whether or not the body should adopt a regulatory role in line with proposed regulations, the governance, institutional form and functions of the Agency and how a co-development and partnership-based approach can be embedded throughout the development and delivery process for the new body. The Call for Evidence closed on 8 February 2022. Alongside the Call for Evidence, the Scottish Government also two public webinars to increase the reach of the consultation and provide an opportunity for potential respondents to seek any clarifications that would help inform how they approached providing feedback to the key areas of interest.

Respondent Profile

8. In total, there were 52 responses to the Call for Evidence, of which 46 were from organisations and 6 from individuals. Respondents were assigned to respondent groupings in order to enable analysis of any differences or commonalities across or within the various different types of organisations and individuals that responded. Table 2 below shows the number of respondents in each organisational category.

Table 2: Respondent Groups


Campaign body


Community development


Consumer advocacy and advice


Energy sector


Enterprise agency


Heat & Energy Efficiency –Delivery Landscape


Housing sector


Local authority


Supply chain


Trade union




Total organisations




Total respondents


9. A list of all those organisations that submitted a response to the Call for Evidence and agreed to have their name published is included in Annex 1.


10. Responses to the Call for Evidence were submitted using the Scottish Government consultation platform Citizen Space or by email.

11. It should be borne in mind that the number responding at each question is not always the same as the number presented in the respondent group table. This is because not all respondents addressed all questions. This report indicates the number of respondents who commented at each question.

12. The researchers examined all comments made by respondents and noted the range of issues mentioned in responses, including reasons for opinions, specific examples or explanations, alternative suggestions or other comments. Grouping these issues together into similar themes allowed the researchers to identify whether any particular theme was specific to any particular respondent group or groups.

13. When referring to respondents who made particular comments, the terms 'a small number', 'a few' and so on have been used. While the analysis was qualitative in nature, as a very general rule of thumb it can be assumed that: 'a very small number' indicates around 2-3 respondents, 'a small number' indicates around 4-6 respondents; 'a few indicates around 7 to 9; and 'some' indicates 10 or more but fewer than half of those who commented at any question."

14. When considering group differences however, it must also be recognised that where a specific opinion has been identified in relation to a particular group or groups, this does not indicate that other groups did not share this opinion, but rather that they simply did not comment on that particular point.

15. While the Call for Evidence gave all who wished to comment an opportunity to do so, given the self-selecting nature of this type of exercise, any figures quoted here cannot be extrapolated to a wider population outwith the respondent sample.


Email: national-public-energy-agency@gov.scot

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