The Challenge

In 2021, the Scottish Government launched the Climate Action Hub Programme to support regional communities in their journey towards net zero. The programme aimed to establish a network of community-led climate action hubs that could provide strategic regional approaches to climate change action. The challenge was to create a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) framework that would ensure a consistent, measurable, and proportionate approach across the hub network, facilitating community engagement and empowering local solutions.

The Solution

CAG Consultants were contracted to develop the MEL framework in collaboration with the client team and hub representatives. Six climate action hubs with diverse approaches to climate response were included in the research. These hubs included the two pathfinder hubs in the North Highlands & Islands and the North East, as well as hubs in Dundee, Fife, Forth Valley, and the Outer Hebrides. The framework was developed through a collaborative process with the client team and the hubs, ensuring it is applicable and replicable across the hubs’ different contexts and priorities. This involved engagement with hub teams and stakeholders through a range of workshops, focus groups, and interviews.

Key components of the approach included:

  • Information Review: Analysing programme documentation, grant offers, contracts, and progress reports to understand the hubs’ objectives and milestones.
  • Hub Engagement: Conducting focus groups and supplementary interviews with hub teams and stakeholders to gather insights and feedback.
  • Analysis and Synthesis: Consolidating findings to identify common themes and differences, leading to the development of strategic outcome categories and draft indicators.
  • Workshops: Hosting online workshops to test and refine the MEL framework components with hub representatives and the client team.

The Result

The final MEL framework encompasses several critical elements designed to guide the hubs in their climate action efforts:

  • Theory of Change (TOC): Outlining the pathway from inputs and activities to outputs, outcomes, and impacts, ultimately leading to the desired community and societal changes.
  • MEL Cycle: A nine-step process across six phases (strategy, planning, monitoring and assessment, reporting, learning, and review) to be completed annually.
  • Common Outcomes, Outputs, and Indicators: A set of standardised measures that hubs can select from to tailor their MEL activities.
  • Guidance and Templates: Providing methods for evidence collection, reporting templates, and considerations for framework use and development.

The MEL framework ensures that each hub can effectively monitor, evaluate, and learn from their activities, fostering a coordinated approach to achieving net zero emissions across Scotland. The framework’s development has equipped the hubs with the tools needed to support their communities, enhance resource availability, stimulate low-carbon actions, and increase stakeholder engagement and influence.

Jun 14, 2024