Introduction

The Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) contract is delivered by Local Energy Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.

This is a national programme that helps Scotland’s communities and businesses benefit from renewable energy. We are committed to ensuring that all of our services are accessible to everyone, with a particular focus on including those from underrepresented and/or marginalised groups. Our Charter reflects this commitment and our priority in addressing inequality and provides a framework for Local Energy Scotland and others in how this can be achieved. When delivering the contract, developing actions and analysing data, we will consider the complexities and sensitivities involved in working with people and communities – all of which are unique.

Our Charter has been developed in partnership with CEMVO Scotland following focus group consultation with people from minority ethnic groups to better understand their awareness and barriers to accessing our services. We have also incorporated learnings from a Close the Gap report exploring gender equality in renewable energy.

Through our Charter we will take active steps to champion a local energy sector that is accessible and inclusive and reflects the Just Transition Principles.

This Charter is implemented through an action plan that sets annual objectives.  Monitoring of the action plan will inform the annual review of this Charter.

If you have questions about the Charter or would like to provide feedback on this Charter please contact info@localenergy.scot or 0808 808 2288.

Mission statement

The CARES Equality Charter exists to proactively address existing inequalities within the service delivery of the local energy sector and by doing so improve access to local energy support and services for everyone.

Guiding principles and approach

The following guiding principles will underpin our approach and resulting actions towards equality:

  1. As a consortium of organisations, we will work inclusively and fairly through every aspect of our work and as ambassadors of this Charter. We will proactively tackle inequalities that currently exist within the local energy sector.
  2. We will ensure that all staff at Local Energy Scotland are informed and empowered to advance equality.
  3. We will adapt our customer service provision to ensure accessible language, information, meeting venues, and to overcome cultural or other barriers.
  4. We will ensure that all our services and funding streams are accessible to everyone and will proactively encourage and support participation from under-represented groups.
  5. We will ensure that the CARES programme is designed to be delivered in line with the Principles of this Charter.
  6. The implementation and delivery of this Charter and its associated action plan will be monitored and reviewed on an annual basis.
  7. We will encourage and support funding recipients to comply with the Principles of this Charter as conditioned within grant offers. Recipients will be expected to feedback within their reporting about steps they have taken to address inequalities and promote inclusion and accessibility for everyone.

Date charter reviewed and updated: October 2021

Progress to date

These are some of the actions we have taken following the implementation of the Equality Charter:

We established that CARES had not received any funding applications from minority ethnic groups. We addressed this in the following ways:

  • We worked with CEMVO hold two workshops in 2018-19 to promote CARES funding to minority ethnic groups. The workshops helped us to identify a key barrier to faith groups accessing our funding.
  • Through consultation, and with agreement from the Scottish Government, we amended our eligibility criteria which enabled more faith groups to apply.
  • We held two further webinars to promote CARES funding to minority ethnic groups (Scottish Interfaith Week – November 2020 and CEMVO environmental network – June 2021)
  • We produced a case study featuring an minority ethnic faith group: Inverness Masjid
  • We launched an “urban community buildings fund” in November 2020 which was directly marketed to minority ethnic groups.
  • Initially we funded two projects from minority ethnic groups in 2019-20 and then a further four in 2020-21 and one to date in 2021-22 (July 21).

We collect data on the gender and ethnicity of those attending our annual conference to monitor any change in trends in those attending and provide a baseline for any future actions to increase attendance.

We choose conference and meeting venues that are accessible.

Our marketing materials feature visual diversity.

The full Local Energy Scotland team have received training on the basic principles of diversity and inclusion.

It is a condition of our funding that funding recipients agree to uphold the principles of our equality charter.

We have formed an independent working group to oversee the annual review of this charter.

Further actions identified

We will put in place a plan to ensure that our website conforms to web content accessibility guidelines.

We will produce further case studies and webinars/ workshops featuring minority ethnic groups.

We will continue our partnership work with new and existing partners to engage with minority ethnic groups and disadvantaged groups.