When building partnerships, let the needs of your stakeholders guide you: be flexible, responsive and ready to demonstrate early value.

Climate Ready Clyde is a multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at creating a shared climate change adaptation strategy and action plan for the whole of the Glasgow City Region. As with all such collaborative initiatives, building a strong momentum from the outset requires securing the buy-in of key pathfinder organisations.

To achieve this, we involved these key stakeholders from the beginning. First, we held a series of one-to-one meetings, learning about each organisation’s aspirations, needs and any possible apprehensions. This was followed by a collaborative workshop, allowing all the initial participants to scope out areas of possible collaboration and to see their contribution as part of the greater whole.  The workshop also allowed us to pinpoint the key areas where further information was needed.  Following feedback from the meetings and workshop, we ensured the governance mechanisms for the formal initiative contained multiple levels, allowing organisations to commit at a level appropriate to their aims and current resources.

Organisations which have already signed up to the initiative include Glasgow City Council, East Renfrewshire Council, North Lanarkshire Council, South Lanarkshire Council, the University of Glasgow, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and the regional transport partnership, SPT.

This strong early engagement allowed Climate Ready Clyde to demonstrate its value early on by submitting a number of joint funding bids and creating a joint work programme, focusing on clear outputs and deliverables.

The results are clear:

  • A diverse range of key organisations have agreed to fund a joint secretariat to lead adaptation in the region;
  • The City Region has been selected as an adaptation demonstrator area for a collection of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-funded projects, tapping into £4.6m of funding;
  • Participants have begun making their own business cases for adaptation and have started assessing the climate vulnerability of major projects;
  • New economic research and assessment toolkits are being developed to help plan and deliver further action.

These actions will both help to demonstrate the value of adaptation to the City Region’s wider aspirations and support practical efforts to build climate resilience.

Bringing diverse stakeholders together to focus on shared goals takes flexibility, effort, and a good ear for listening to the needs and constraints on individual members. Experience has shown us that it’s better to work with the grain of stakeholders, providing multiple opportunities to contribute, rather than creating a prescriptive framework early on and ask them to fit into it. As value is proven, momentum steadily grows towards long lasting, effective change.