Just Transition Commission minutes: January 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the Just Transition Commission.

Attendees and apologies

Commission attendees

  • Jim Skea (Chair)
  • Lang Banks (WWF)
  • Ameena Camps (Community Energy Scotland)
  • Colette Cohen (Net Zero Technology Centre)
  • Richard Hardy (Prospect)
  • Katie Gallogly-Swan (Boston University/UN Conference on Trade and Development)
  • Rajiv Joshi (Bridging Ventures)
  • Ann Pettifor (Economist, Policy Research in Macroeconomics)
  • Satwat Rehman (One Parent Families Scotland)
  • Nick Robins (Grantham Research Institute, LSE)
  • Hannah Smith (Institution of Civil Engineers)
  • Rachel McEwen (SSE)
  • Jake Molloy (RMT)
  • Ronne Quinn (NECCUS)
  • Ray Riddoch (Harlaw)

Secretariat attendees

  • Elliot Ross, JTC Secretariat
  • Shona Ann Kinnear, JTC Secretariat

Guests for overview of Just Transition planning activities only

  • Katie Phair, Scottish Government
  • Colin Seditas, Scottish Government


  • Elaine Dougall (Unite/STUC)
  • Mark Reed (SRUC)

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced members of the Secretariat in attendance.

Apologies were received from Mark Reed and Elaine Dougall.

It was advised Katie Phair and Colin Seditas of the Scottish Government had been invited to join the meeting for the third agenda item only (overview of just transition planning activities).

The Chair gave a brief introduction to the Commission and its Remit, emphasising the independence of the Commission from the Scottish Government and the role of the Secretariat in facilitating this.

It was noted that formal letters of appointment had been received by members. The Chair advised on general housekeeping and Zoom meeting etiquette.

Roundtable and introductions

Commissioners introduced themselves, their background and expertise, and shared priorities and aspirations for the Commission’s work. Common themes arose from the discussion, including the urgent need for action towards a just transition.

There was consensus about the need to learn lessons from the past. Reference was made to personal experience of the loss of industry and coal mining in Scotland as examples the Commission could hope to learn from.

There were also reflections on the importance of the Commission’s role in engagement with impacted communities and sectors, and agreement on shared aspirations to ensure the Commission makes a positive difference.

It was noted Commissioners have equal status, whether appointed for the duration of this Parliament or in order to work on a specific sectoral/regional plan.

Just Transition Planning – Overview

A presentation from Katie Phair of the Scottish Government gave an overview of Just Transition Planning work ahead, including an introduction describing the purpose of just transition plans, key objectives and outcomes, the co-design process and an outline of the proposed structure of these plans, an overview of the structure of the Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, and note on the Commission’s possible role in relation to this work.

Commissioners put forward questions. These included queries related to the contents, scope, structure and timing of the Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, as well as how best Commissioners appointed with a special focus on this plan would engage with its development.

Other questions related to stakeholder engagement with the development of just transition plans, whether or not technology would be considered explicitly as part of the Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, the role of geothermal and nuclear energy, consumer impacts, and consideration of the role of the financial sector.

There was also discussion of the relation between the development of Scottish Government plans and UK Government planning, as well as the possibility of examining the question of loss and damage, a major subject at COP 26.

Monitoring and evaluation - note

The Chair proposed that Monitoring and Evaluation would be considered as the focus for discussion at next meeting, and asked Commissioners to reflect on how this aspect of the remit should best be addressed. He emphasised the key role of Monitoring and Evaluation work in underpinning the transition and achieving accountability on targets and indicators.

Although the Commission itself will not collect data, both governmental and non-governmental data sources can be drawn on in order to assess processes and outcomes, including those related to: labour markets; progress on training, skills and education; broad economic indicators including consumer impact, regional differences and vulnerable groups; investment and funding patterns; the deployment of technology; and social indicators.

There was discussion of how best to learn from and partner with other bodies, including UK Climate Change Committee, Scottish National Investment Bank and other bodies such as the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls, in order to pursue this work, and agreement that the Commission should explore ways to address missing data sets and potential gaps in intersectional analysis. There was consideration of how best to assess Scotland’s footprint in an international context in relation to loss and damage questions.

Commissioners were invited to liaise with secretariat with ideas and suggestions regarding Monitoring and Evaluation in advance of the Commission’s next meeting. 

Action one

Commissioners to share further ideas on M&E with secretariat with ideas before next meeting.

Action two

Secretariat to liaise with CCC ahead of next meeting.

Terms of reference

The secretariat introduced a draft Terms of Reference. Members were invited to share comments and suggestions for amendments, additions and deletions.

The draft ToR was positively received overall.

The process for agreeing recommendations and outputs was discussed, and it was noted that the commission is an advisory body and that the first JTC had enjoyed success in reaching consensus on recommendations and outputs.

It was proposed that in circumstances where consensus is difficult to achieve, differences of opinion should be duly recorded, and different options for doing so were outlined, including the possible use of minority reports, footnotes and annexes. There was recognition that where views are more finely balanced this would require to be covered in the main report. There was agreement on the need to establish a clear view of how the Commission’s work would proceed in situations where full agreement may prove elusive.

One suggestion was that the ToR be reviewed again after six months to ensure its suitability.

It was agreed the Commission requires a suitable website to carry out the usual functions of such bodies, and that the website once created should be kept up to date to ensure the Commission’s work is shared and communicated both domestically and to interested parties around the world, as well as maintaining an easily navigable archive of the Commission’s work, including the first JTC’s papers and outputs. Secretariat confirmed this work is in hand as well as work to establish a newsletter.

A proposal that the Commission’s communications work be accessible to as wide a range of people as possible found broad support, noting the need to be mindful of accessible language, and cautioning against the use of acronyms and jargon with which some people may not be familiar.

The Secretariat has undertaken to produce and maintain a full communications and engagement plan which will be subject to continuous review by members.

Clarification was provided that whereas the Commission will work within the Remit from Scottish Government as regards the target of net zero by 2045, the Commission’s work would encompass considerations of how this target should best be achieved and the pace of change required.

There was discussion of the potential benefits of connecting and engaging with peer bodies internationally as well as with domestic advisory bodies of the kind detailed in the Remit, and it was agreed this would be explored.

Action three

Secretariat to circulate a revised ToR ahead of the next meeting.

Action four

Secretariat to take necessary steps to set up a web page and newsletter in line with the new communications plan to be shared with members.

Action five

Communications work to be as accessible and jargon-free as possible.

Action six

Members and Secretariat to scope peer bodies the Commission may wish to connect with internationally as well as domestically.

Work plan

Secretariat introduced a draft work plan with the goal of agreeing a broad structure and approach for the first year of the Commission’s work initially, and for the work plan to be kept under continual review

Noting the success of the approach taken by the first JTC in terms of combining meetings with site visits, town hall meetings with stakeholders, etc., it was proposed the Commission take a similar approach, combining engagement with guests etc. while retaining space for private sessions. Meetings would take place with an interval of approximately six weeks, with a gap for summer.

Members agreed that further clarity in terms of themes and likely blocks of work required would be welcome in order to structure and populate the work plan adequately. There was consensus on the benefit of being able to plan well in advance to allow maximum participation and management of personal diaries. It was noted a clear forward look would be necessary to facilitate the timely appointment of further Commissioners on fixed-term appointments with specific focus on particular sectors/regions. Secretariat undertook to seek further clarity from Scottish Government officials on relevant planned work.

There was discussion of the difficulty of attaining a clear view of the many different consultations and programmes of work upcoming across relevant sectors. It was suggested a comprehensive timetable of events might be a helpful product to maintain alongside the work plan and to facilitate effective maintenance of the work plan itself.

There was broad agreement that the Commission wishes to provide advice and scrutiny on plans across Scottish Government that may impact on just transition outcomes. In particular, there was agreement that the Commission would welcome the opportunity to consider plans related to the care sector, with a shared view of the care sector as a critical element of social infrastructure for achieving a just transition, which needs to be valued accordingly.

Members agreed it may be helpful to consider at a future meeting defining “what success looks like for us”, including a sense of what the Commission will need to have achieved by 2026 when it concludes its work.

Secretariat invited members to turn to secretariat for support and assistance in handling all enquiries related to the Commission’s work.

The meeting concluded at 12.30pm.

Action seven

Secretariat to liaise with colleagues in SG to gain further clarity on timing and sequencing of planning work relevant to the Commission.

Action eight

Secretariat to draft and maintain jointly with members a planner to collate upcoming work across sectors relevant to the Commission’s remit and work plan.

Action nine

Chair to advise Scottish Government by letter of relevant aspects of the discussion on work plan.

Action ten

Secretariat to liaise and book upcoming meetings, in person where feasible, subject to Covid restrictions. 


Just Transition Commission Secretariat
PO Box 24152


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