Regional Retrofit Action Plan Training: Frequently Asked Questions 

Are you a council officer tasked with delivering your council's ambitions for retrofit?  This programme brings together council officers from across all levels of to support them with developing the tools, skills, opportunities, capability, and challenge required to help grow the retrofit sector in their region. Here you will find answers to common questions about the programme.


Application stage 

What other retrofit support programmes have the LGA already run?  

In 2021, as part of the LGA’s Sector Support Climate Change Programme, the Productivity Team delivered the Building Housing Retrofit Skills Leadership Programme. This programme of support was delivered to 24 officers and councillors from local authorities across England. The programme worked with officers and councillors to unpick and address the challenges of retrofitting domestic properties. The focus was on developing the skills required inside and outside the councils to manage and implement retrofit programmes, including co-ordinating internal and external stakeholders, generating demand from householders, and upskilling suppliers. 

The application 

Which organisations can apply to the programme? 

  • Any English council (including those not in membership of the Local Government Association).

At application stage, should I commit to the dates outlined in the timeline?

  • Yes please. Although we cannot say if you have a place on the programme yet, if you are successful, you will be expected to attend all the sessions so it will be vital to save the dates in the diary so that you can attend.
  • For simplicity, please save the following dates:  
    • September 28 2022
    • October 5 2022
    • November 9 2022
    • November 23 2022
    • December 6 2022

Which internal stakeholders should I speak to before applying?

  • The organisation’s Chief Executive or most senior officer.
  • The lead for climate change, or similar member of your organisation.
  • Colleagues across the organisation with specialisms in retrofit.

 Do I need to gain confirmation from my manager to apply?

  • Yes, a confirmation in the expression of interest form from your manager will be required to pursue the application. This is to ensure that you have organisational buy in for the training.

How many councils will gain a place on the training?

  • There are places for up to fifteen councils on the training.

How many applicants can apply per council?

  • The training is available for multiple members of staff from each council, the number of staff able to attend will depend upon how many are working on relevant retrofit programmes/provision. Representation from different service areas is encouraged.
  • To streamline the communication on the programme, each council should nominate one person as a lead for the training in their application.
  • On the application form councils can initially put forward up to three members of staff, this should include their nominated lead.
  • Councils do not need to reference all the staff who will be involved in the training on the application form. This can be decided once councils have been informed that they have been selected for the training.

 Do all members of staff need to attend all elements of the training?

  • We would recommend that at least one member of staff attend all sessions, with others attending as is most beneficial. If the council is unable to send a representative to any session, we would expect the council to make us aware, so we can arrange 1:1 follow up sessions where appropriate.
  • If a member of staff cannot attend a session, then those that have attended should update their colleagues prior to the next session. This will ensure the whole team gains all the knowledge and skills from the training and creates a consistency of approach.

How should councils look to decide upon the officers to put forward for the training?

  • They should be currently working on retrofit provision. Types of work include delivering a programme/provision, developing policy, or writing funding applications.

Can I save the application while I am completing it?

  • Unfortunately, it is not possible to save the expression of interest form as you are completing it.
  • However, you can download a PDF copy of the application questions for reference and to plan your responses in advance.

What will the expression of interest form be judged on?

  • The expression of interest form will seek to ensure an intake from across the country and across political leadership, as much as possible.
  • Applicants will be assessed on criteria including suitability, variety of region and political leadership.

Delivery

What structure will the workshops take?

  • There will be interactive webinars that bring together all fifteen of the council teams, with each webinar focusing on a specific topic.
  • There will be 1:1 sessions to allow individual questions or challenges to be discussed.
  • Councils will decide upon a lead officer for each topic, who will receive this one-to-one support (this lead may change with each theme due to the nature of roles and responsibilities, as well as stakeholder relationships).

How will theme leads be decided?

  • This will be decided once councils have been selected for the training.
  • The LGA will work with the selected councils, prior to the start of the training to agree who will be the lead officer for each theme.

 What will the training cover?

  • An overview of the current retrofit landscape across England, including the levers currently available to local government to support the development of the retrofit sector.
  • Examples of best practice in local government that are currently being used to support the sector to grow.
  • The processes, theories, and tools you could use to develop and maintain effective partnership and stakeholder relationships.
  • The processes, theories, best practice, and tools you could use to ensure you work effectively with training providers, community groups and the private sector to maximise retrofit opportunities.
  • How to plan and deliver a retrofit action plan and next steps document that will support the delivery of retrofit in your region. 

What are the expected outputs from the training?

Each officer that attends the training will:

  • have a better understanding of the current retrofit sector
  • be aware of the best practice examples currently happening across the country and where required, they will receive relevant contact details
  • get a clear understanding of the barriers currently facing training providers, the private sector and the community
  • be aware of the best practice from other sectors that have worked in maximising the potential of training providers, the private sector, and the community
  • develop an action plan that maximises what they have learnt from the training and enables them to apply it within their geography
  • develop a network of others to create a ‘community of practice’ for ongoing support, discussion and collaboration.

During the programme

How many training sessions will there be?

  • There will be five training sessions, one for each of the five key learning objectives.
  • There will be five 1:1s, which will be delivered between training sessions, these will be attended by one member of your team.

How long will each of the training session be?

  • Each training session will be for up to a maximum of three hours, making the total training 18 hours.
  • Each training session will be followed by a 10 minute 1:1 Q&A session for clarifications and simple queries.
  • Each 1:1 session will be a maximum of one hour in length, making a total of five hours.

How will the training be delivered?

  • The training will be delivered using a variety of different training methods and activities.
  • We are keen that people do not spend three hours listening to presentations or working on a screen. Each training session will be broken down into smaller sessions, allowing the training to work for a variety of learning styles and ensuring that all attendees are given the chance to take breaks from using their laptops.

How long will the training last for?

  • It will be completed within a four-month period from September to December 2022. The exact dates are available in the timeline and milestone section of this FAQ.

 Will all the support take place online?

  • Yes, all support will be delivered virtually. We are mindful of several factors which have drawn us to this conclusion, which include:
    • the need for social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside ensuring the accessibility of support
    • cost savings for both the programme in booking venues and participants for travelling
    • as this is a national programme, the reduction in travel will contribute to meeting our carbon reduction targets.

After the programme

How will the project be evaluated?

  • Evaluation will be an ongoing process throughout the training and will be conducted by the project coordinator.
  • Evaluation mechanisms may include:
    • impact logs
    • observation
    • online surveys
    • reflection sessions.

What will I commit to doing after the programme has finished?

  • To share your learning with other councils and public sector partners via a case study, blog, a webinar, a podcast, or similar.  
  • Take part in the lessons learned webinar on December 6 2022.

 For any further questions, please contact [email protected].

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