Submission: 30th September 2019
At a time of enormous change and climate crisis, it is timely for Kildare County Council’s new Corporate Plan to be ambitious and set out a bold vision and goals for the next five years. There have been many legislative developments in planning, housing, environment and climate action responding to enormous social, political and environmental challenges that form a new context for the Plan. The impact of Brexit will also impact the county over the next five years. For this reason, it is particularly important that the Plan is aligned with the need for change in Council to help the County respond to these challenges over the coming years.
For this reason, I suggest that the Plan put Community, Climate Change and Green Economy at its core. The Plan’s vision should look to a future of challenges and opportunity, with the focus of empowering Council, citizens, communities and businesses to lead in responding to the forthcoming challenges in a way that is fair, equitable and responsive.
Given the critical role communities will play in transitioning to a low-carbon future and in adapting to environmental impacts over the coming years, the Plan should prioritise deepening and broadening citizen and community voice and responsiveness in Council. Community participation should be embedded into service planning. This focus will support Kildare’s leadership role in regional climate action as well as supporting social inclusion, adaptation to change and green business innovation. New approaches to communication with Kildare residents and citizens should also be an objective under this goal.
The Plan should include monitoring and evaluation measures. Specific objectives should ideally be concrete enough that progress can be monitored and evaluated.
The need to mainstream climate change actions, learning and budgeting priorities across the organisation demands staff and organisational learning, incentives and measures. These will contribute to a strengthened, learning and responsive organisation that should also be a key focus of the Corporate Plan.
With regard to Climate Action and developing and supporting green business, and being consistent with its climate adaptation strategy, the Corporate Plan should have a specific objective on auditing and supporting Green Business across its own organisation – including but not limited to Greening its financial instruments as well as Procurement.
The Plan should also include an acknowledgement of the exponential development of technology, its central role in our economy, and that the Council will work to ensure that citizens’ rights and freedoms are central considerations in relevant decision-making processes in technological developments over the coming 5 years.
To be far-reaching in its
impact on social inclusion and to be adaptable to the many challenges that we
will face in the coming 5 years, the Plan should emerge from the values of
fairness, ambition, effectiveness, responsiveness and solidarity with the key
aim of building trust with citizens and all stakeholders in all of its
functions and decisions.
In terms of the document, it should be engaging and easy to understand. The current plan focuses on what is, functions and structures rather than upfronting immediately a positive vision and set of goals and objectives for the future. The Plan should be clear, engaging and inspiring. It should aim to be a document that is easy for everyone to read and understand and to inspire support for and within the Council over the coming five years.