I'm Scott Butterfield, Blackpool Council’s, Strategy Policy & Research Manager. I'm here to talk about our climate assembly, which we ran with FutureGov, and the transition we had to make to digital delivery mode, given the pandemic.
To say a little bit about the climate emergency, as I'm sure a lot of you are aware, over 300 councils have now declared a climate emergency. In Blackpool, our ambition is around reducing carbon emissions to net-zero by 2030.
We've taken quite an ambitious approach. A lot of the declarations I've seen seem to be copy and paste, whereas ours goes a lot further around youth engagement, public involvement and really substantial building of community knowledge on these topics, which are obviously going to dominate social life over the next coming decades.
Bringing the community together
When it came to the assembly, we didn't want to delay due to the pandemic. We obviously recognise the benefits of face-to-face engagement but we also felt that there's an opportunity here to do something really positive. We wanted to bring people together when a lot of people were feeling perhaps isolated, staying at home or self-isolating.
We were clear that it needed to reflect the reality of Blackpool, our whole population. The idea of our assembly was to get a group of people together who were wholly representative, from deprived areas and also including those who were potentially digitally excluded. So aiming to be as inclusive as possible, but delivering entirely online because we didn't know at that time what the roadmap out of lockdown would look like.
In terms of the selection process, when we brought FutureGov in they recommended we go with the Sortition Foundation. They do a random sample approach with a very professional service around marketing and communicating to people using postal invitations.