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Climate Emergency Action Pan (CEAP) Working Group Terms of Reference Document


Scrutiny Working Group

Update of the corporate climate emergency plan

Responsible Committee

Place Scrutiny Committee


Andy Arnold, Environment Team Manager






Scope of the Working Group


The Scrutiny Working Group shall:


·                     Review the County Council’s progress in becoming a carbon neutral council.

·                     Provide advice and critical challenge on the development of an updated corporate climate emergency plan.

·                     Represent the views of fellow Members not on the review board.


Areas outside the scope of the work

·         Carbon emissions that are outside of the County Council’s own corporate carbon emissions (eg. businesses and residents).

·         Divesting the East Sussex Pension Fund of fossil fuel investments. This is addressed by the Pension Committee and is outside the remit of the Place Scrutiny Committee.




In October 2019 the County Council declared a climate emergency.  It set a target of achieving carbon neutrality from its activities as soon as possible and in any event by 2050 and committed to reporting annually to full Council on its progress towards meeting this target.

In line with the commitment made in the Motion agreed in 2019, the County Council developed a Climate Emergency Action Plan to set out how the organisation would go about reducing its carbon emissions. The Action Plan was agreed by Cabinet in June 2020 and built on work undertaken since the first Carbon Management Plan was put in place in 2009. The Action Plan set out the scale of the carbon footprint, described the carbon budget that the Council will aim to keep within, and proposed an initial two year delivery plan for 2020-22. An updated action plan, covering 2023-25, was developed during 2022 with significant input from a cross party working group of the Place Scrutiny Committee. It is proposed that a similar cross party working group is established to contribute to the development of the next corporate Climate Emergency Plan, which will need to be agreed before March 2025.


Working Group methods


It is anticipated that the Working Group will review documentary evidence, question witnesses and undertake research in order to gather evidence to inform its recommendations.  


The following list is not exhaustive and will change and develop as the review progresses:


Documents and research:

The corporate Climate Emergency Plan for 2023-25.


Potential witnesses for oral and/or written evidence:


·                     The Energy and Carbon Reduction Manager in Property on the options and challenges with reducing carbon from county council buildings.

·                     The Team Manager of the Transport Hub on the options and challenges with reducing carbon from county council fleet and transport contracts.

·                     The Senior Policy Lead for Supply Chain Decarbonisation on the options and challenges with reducing carbon from county council procurement.

·                     The Head of Communications and Marketing, on the county council’s communications role and activities.

·                     The Working Group may be supported and advised by other relevant officers.

·                     The Working Group Board may also wish to consider taking evidence from external expert witnesses and/or other local authorities on their experience of developing climate emergency action plans.


Working Group Organisation and Responsibilities


Working Group (acting as a reference group for this work)


The Working Group is comprised of: (tbc).


The Working Group is responsible for making decisions regarding the scope and direction of the work and will monitor and control the overall progress of it. It will consider and provide challenge to all evidence presented to it and agree any report, including the findings and any recommendations.


Scrutiny Support

Support for the work will be provided by the Policy Team to:

·   Manage the Working Group’s review of the corporate climate emergency action plan process;

·   Undertake research as agreed by the Working Group;

·   Draft any report.


The Lead Officer who will support the Working Group from the Policy Team is Martin Jenks, Senior Scrutiny Adviser.  Their role is to manage the work, ensuring its aims and objectives are met and that any report is provided within the agreed timescales.


Work Completion


When the Working Group has completed its work, the Lead Officer will co-ordinate the production of a report outlining the work undertaken by the Working Group together with any findings and recommendations for agreement by the Working Group.  Once agreed, the report will be provided to the Place Scrutiny Committee members. 


The final version of the updated corporate Climate Emergency Plan, agreed with the Working Group, will be presented to Cabinet for consideration. The report of the Working Group will be presented, alongside the updated Climate Emergency Plan, when it goes to Cabinet and then to full Council for consideration.

Subsequently, annual updates on progress in delivering the new, updated corporate Climate Emergency Plan will be provided to Cabinet and full Council.



The primary costs associated with the review are Member and Officer time.


Change Control


Any request to change the scope or definition of the project as set down in this document will be assessed by the Senior Scrutiny Adviser. They will give their assessment of the impact of the change (for example to the cost or timescale of the project) to the Working Group, who will decide whether to accept the change request.


Working Group Activity Timetable


An initial outline timetable of the meetings and activities required to complete the review is outlined below. 




Review Board Meeting 1

·   Consider county council progress to date in becoming a carbon neutral council.

·   Proposed headlines for the updated action plan.

·   Take evidence from county council officers, and external experts if required.

·         Discuss and agree initial recommendations based on the evidence provided.

 June 2024

Review Board Meeting 2

·         Review a first draft of the updated action plan.

·         Provide advice and critical challenge on the draft.

July 2024

Review Board Meeting 3 

· Review a final draft action plan. Provide final advice and critical challenge on the draft.

September 2024

Place Scrutiny Committee

·   Review of the recommendations from the working group

·   Review of the final draft action plan.


Report to Cabinet

December 2024

Report to Council

February 2025