The CNI Process
Once the six CNI islands were identified by the Scottish Government Islands Team, Community Energy Scotland was brought in as the project delivery partner based on their experience of delivering decarbonisation while working with island communities.
For the project to be beneficial and respected, it was important that each island community took the lead in making decisions about how the project developed, to reflect the different island contexts and utilise local knowledge.
The project structure reflected this understanding of the need to put the community at the centre of the process and each island set up a Steering Group consisting of a range of community representatives. The Steering Group’s role is to represent the wider community and is responsible for supporting the Anchor Organisation and Community Development Officer (CDO) in planning and delivering the project.
The Steering Group identified a Local Anchor Organisation to receive project funding to employ a CNI CDO. The Anchor Organisation was already working with the island community and so had a network of trusted relationships, local knowledge and expertise, and experience of delivering community projects.
The CDOs’ role is vital as they are the direct link between all the project partners and the island community (see figure below indicating the relationships of support between the different partners in the project). When working with external partners, stakeholders, and technical experts, clear communication is important to ensure local knowledge and expertise is recognised and valued.
CES’s role is to support the islands in delivering the project by working closely with CDOs and Anchor Organisations and wider island communities. They also provide technical input and report back to the Scottish Government Islands Team on project progress.
As overall project leaders the Scottish Government Islands Team meet regularly with CES, CDOs and other project partners – providing support as well as funding.
Communication across the project partners is important to ensure knowledge sharing and mutual support. The CNI Project Group, consisting of CDOs, Anchor Organisation/Steering Group representatives, CES, members of the Scottish Government Islands Team, meet fortnightly for project updates and discussions.
Yell Consultation With Notes
To help create a sense of shared ownership of the project and try to capture good practice in communication and project processes, a CNI Project Guide was created. This document was co-written by the CNI Project Group and scribed by CES and is intended to act as a living document, capturing all aspects of the project.
The starting point of the Project Guide was to agree a set of shared Project Group Values which reflect the collective approach to CNI:
We are all part of webs of relationships with people, places, living creatures and the environment. To tackle the challenges of the climate emergency we recognise the need to work together for the wellbeing of all.
Recognising our interdependency requires us to acknowledge our responsibilities for and to those relationships.
We listen to each other and value different perspectives. We won’t always agree but are supportive in seeking common ground to work from.
We are here as representatives of our communities in all their diversity. In everything we do we communicate as widely as possible with the community and bring their voices and perspectives into the discussion. Local folk are the experts on their island.