Making the Future - second Just Transition Commission: initial report

The second Just Transition Commission convened in early 2022 with a remit to provide scrutiny and advice on the Scottish Government’s sectoral and regional just transition plans. This initial report sets out strategic priorities to ensure the decarbonisation of Scotland's economy is delivered fairly

Engagement, participation and equalities


Effective engagement, participation and feedback are integral to the processes of developing plans and activities to achieve a just transition. The consideration of potential differing and disproportionate impacts on different communities (of interest and place) needs to be central to the work to ensure effective mitigation. Policies related to the transition are now a very live political issue, so there is an opportunity for active engagement to identify challenges and opportunities to advance the 'just' element of the transition. However, such engagement will need to consider planning around sensitivities to reach those communities who are struggling as a result of austerity and the cost-of-living crisis, and who may find it difficult to engage in such a process.

Strategic priorities

The following strategic priorities are designed to ensure inclusive engagement by Scottish Government to achieve a just transition to net zero:

Reaching the most marginalised: Marginalised and hard-to-reach groups for priority engagement should be systematically identified. For example, stakeholder analysis techniques could consider the relative influence and interest of stakeholders in the transition to net zero, the likely impact (whether positive or negative) of the transition, and the concrete steps for how to engage different groups meaningfully. Sufficient time and resources will be needed to use systematic stakeholder analysis tools that are designed to identify hard-to-reach and marginalised groups as well as other stakeholders, and provide information about their needs, interests and preferences to inform engagement strategies.

Systematic and inclusive stakeholder engagement: Relevant tools and networks to engage stakeholders should be identified and used by building on the work of grass roots community organisations and intermediary organisations that provide support. Depending on the nature of the engagement strategies emerging from stakeholder analysis, capacity and resources may be prioritised to ensure that the most marginalised groups are engaged with, even if this is more resource-intensive.

Clarity on scope and definitions: By placing boundaries around the just transition there is a risk we miss key challenges that are directly or indirectly associated with the transition, such as mental health, equality and diversity and education and tenants' rights. Hence, it is imperative to align with other groups working across Scottish Government priorities and to listen to a variety of voices to identify such challenges and seek solutions. In order for effective and meaningful engagement, the Scottish Government needs to be very clear in the definitions, terminology and accessibility of language used to communicate changes needed as part of the transition. This will assist in the alignment of Scottish Government, and other stakeholders' understanding, and increase the likelihood of ensuring a just transition.

Properly resourcing engagement: Expertise and resources are needed to tailor engagement approaches to the needs of different groups, manage power dynamics and give voice to and empower everyone to engage as equals. Those who engage need to be given opportunities to feed back on the process to further enhance engagement and see how their inputs are shaping just transition policy. To avoid consultation and engagement fatigue, the Scottish Government should streamline processes to bring together engagement activities across sectors and departments. While tailoring engagement to the needs of different groups may be resource-intensive, poor engagement can have knock-on effects, including disengagement and policies that do not work for the people they serve.


  • Each Just Transition Plan for sectors and regions should be supported by an engagement plan that specifies the concrete steps that will be taken to ensure critical hard-to-reach groups are productively engaged (e.g. low interest/low influence/high impact).
  • Stakeholder analysis should be conducted to identify, categorise and tailor engagement with different publics and stakeholders around each of the Just Transition Outcomes, to consider interest, influence and impact and ensure both key players and hard-to-reach groups are identified effectively. Use the information from the analysis to develop an engagement and impact strategy.
  • A capacity building programme should be developed, tailored to the needs of each group, based on the stakeholder analysis, to ensure marginalised and hard-to-reach groups have the voice and power necessary to engage as equals. As part of this, provide guidance and tools for developing tailored, appropriate and accessible communication, with plain English definitions of key terms for agencies that will be involved in the programme.
  • A participatory monitoring and evaluation framework for the Just Transition Outcomes should be created, adapting outcomes as necessary to ensure these meet the needs of all stakeholders, identifying relevant milestones and indicators (and means of verification) against which progress may be measured, where possible in collaboration with stakeholders, including stakeholder engagement with the analysis and interpretation of monitoring and evaluation data, and the co-production of any actions or recommendations emerging from this analysis. Integrate the engagement and impact strategy with the participatory monitoring and evaluation framework.



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