Chapter 5. Monitoring and Engagement
Deepening public engagement
We have learned a lot about public attitudes to energy issues from our public engagement during the past 12 months. Our public consultations on the draft Scottish Energy Strategy, the Climate Change Bill, Scotland's Energy Efficiency Programme and the Talking "Fracking" consultation have given us rich evidence and valuable insight into what matters to consumers and industry stakeholders alike.
People are becoming more active, informed and vocal about energy issues, and want to engage with policy makers on low carbon topics. The transition to a low carbon energy system is as much a social challenge as it is technical – that means finding a way to meaningfully involve wider society in the conversation and process.
Research commissioned and published by ClimateXChange earlier this year explores current evidence on Scottish public values and attitudes towards energy system transformation  .
The UK Energy Research Centre ( UKERC) has recently mapped wider UK public engagement with energy, showing the extensive and diverse ways in which citizens are engaging with the energy system  .
This kind of insight is essential to finding the best ways to reach and inform wider audiences, and the best range of communication tools and channels to use.
We need to review and learn from related initiatives undertaken by government, business, academia and civil society. This will help to ensure we develop an engagement plan for this Strategy that reflects the best ideas and practices in play, and which is as effective as possible.
Government can't do this alone. We need to work and communicate effectively with the public, with communities, with all stakeholders – to raise awareness, and to be direct, fluent and persuasive about the benefits and impacts of changing our behaviours.
We will work with our partners to consider and to find new ways to widen out this conversation on our low carbon transition, and to involve the wider public much more effectively in the issues addressed by this Strategy.
We will be flexible, adapting our public engagement on energy issues over time. Our objectives are to:
- raise awareness and improve understanding of the choices, opportunities and challenges facing Scotland as we move towards decarbonising the energy system;
- encourage a greater sense of ownership and control amongst communities and individuals as consumers, producers and investors in their energy system; and
- improve the design of our programmes and initiatives by finding better ways to share ideas, and listening to and feeding in the views of the public in designing policy.
Our approach will consist of three core components:
Information Sharing and Awareness Raising
We intend to do all that we can to inform the public about the choices available to us all when it comes to decarbonising the energy system. Our goal is to make those choices together.
As we move forward to the delivery stage of both this Strategy and the Climate Change Plan, we will develop an engagement framework on low carbon behaviours, to support the move to the low carbon economy over the coming decades.
We will use digital platforms to make information and data accessible and open. Our Digital Strategy will shape and inform our approach.
We will encourage and support communities to hold local conversations about local energy systems. We want stakeholder organisations to engage with local communities, to share ideas and good practice with each other.
We are also continuing with 'Climate Conversations'  to engage the wider public in discussions about climate change and transition to a low carbon future.
Consultation and Deliberation
We will combine the strengths, capacities, skills and ideas of communities, industry, and other stakeholders. We will do this through much more effective and meaningful consultation, using a range of tools, methods and platforms to involve people in the decisions that affect them.
Monitoring the Scottish Energy Strategy
This Strategy is designed for the long term – with the flexibility to respond to developments in energy technologies and changes in consumer behaviour in the coming decades.
That means continuing to monitor our progress, and adapting our policies to ensure they continue to support the long-term vision set by the Strategy.
The Scottish Government will publish an Annual Energy Statement which sets out:
- the latest energy statistics;
- the progress made towards existing targets and the new 2030 targets;
- developments under each the six Strategic Priorities;
- changes within the UK energy market and international frameworks; and
- an assessment of technological changes and advances with a bearing on Scotland's energy system.
The Annual Energy Statement will take account of the Climate Change Plan monitoring framework and the relevant energy indicators.
The Scottish Government will also update the Remit of the Scottish Energy Advisory Board ( SEAB) to take account of this Strategy's themes and strategic priorities. This will give the Board a wider perspective and support the delivery of this Strategy.
SEAB will be closely involved in the publication of the Annual Energy Statement, providing advice to the Scottish Government and Scottish Ministers on their approach to delivering the Strategy.
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