Guest post by Neville Rookes, Welsh Local Government Association
I recently worked with the Good Practice Exchange at the Wales Audit Office to help run a seminar on Energy Management. I work for the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) and the seminar covered a wide range of topics that seem to appeal to most local authorities. There was something for everyone. So I wanted to share what I learned from the seminar and why these lessons matter for local government – and of course what the WLGA’s next steps will be.
Why did the WLGA choose to work in collaboration with the Wales Audit Office and Good Practice Wales for this seminar? It opened up a whole new avenue for developing policy, because it helped me recognise that other sectors have different approaches to energy management which can be adapted to suit local government needs. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, since local government could take inspiration from many other sectors.
And why did we choose energy management as a subject to collaborate on? We’re helping to run a series of seminars on asset management and we kicked off this series with energy. We recognise that assets are an area where we need to be smarter in keeping on top of what we have already and how we can use this more efficiently and effectively. This isn’t about investing in massive capital projects; it’s about adapting or retrofitting systems / technologies so that we can better manage and reduce consumption – and the costs of service delivery.
These seminars have a relaxed atmosphere which makes delegates comfortable in contributing in workshops and working with people they don’t normally engage with. We received some positive feedback about the sharing and learning sections of the workshops, where delegates discussed what they’re working on and struggling with. I now get this ‘cross-sector thing’ – we are all encountering similar issues, so let’s learn from each other.
So, what are my next steps following this seminar?
As a facilitator for one of the workshop I didn’t get the opportunity to participate in the others on the day so I will be revisiting the WAO website and to see what good practice I can glean from these. Through this seminar I can see how we can learn from other public bodies and I will spread the message. But it also occurs to me that within our own organisations there are people and departments we can learn from and I will ensure that I seek out these links and share them.
Within a day or so of being involved in the seminar our finance director asked me if I was aware of any contacts on projects involving LED lighting – thanks to the seminar I had a couple of names to give him straight away!