Public Sector Climate Adaptation Network

Project On-going
Date added: 10/09/2020

The Public Sector Climate Adaptation Network (formerly Benchmarking Working Group) is comprised of public bodies who work together to benchmark their progress against the Adaptation Capability Framework and identify and share learning on climate change adaptation.

The public sector has a crucial role to play in enabling Scotland to adapt to climate change.

A framework for the Public Sector

The Adaptation Capability Framework was launched in May 2019. The Adaptation Capability Framework identifies four capabilities that every public organisation will need to adapt to climate change, providing step by step tasks to guide your adaptation journey. To support the use of the Framework, a Benchmarking Tool was developed to measure progress on adaptation, track the impact of actions and illustrate an organisation’s adaptation journey.

Public Sector Climate Adaptation Network

Alongside the development of these tools, the Public Sector Climate Adaptation Network (formerly Benchmarking Working Group) was established in June 2019 with major organisations participating including local authorities, infrastructure operators, universities and national public bodies. The Network is comprised of public bodies who work together to benchmark their progress and identify and share learning on climate change adaptation.

The Public Sector Climate Adaptation Network:

  • Supports organisations to use the Benchmarking Tool
  • Facilitates peer to peer support
  • Provides training and skills development
  • Develops case studies and shares good practice
  • Provides feedback to inform further development of the Adaptation Capability Framework

Since the group's inception, additional cohorts have joined and 50 organisations are now involved.


Members of the Network include:

  • Aberdeen City Council
  • Aberdeenshire Council
  • Angus Council
  • Argyll and Bute Council
  • Creative Scotland
  • Crown Estate Scotland
  • Dumfries and Galloway Council
  • Dundee and Angus College
  • Dundee City Council
  • East Dunbartonshire Council
  • East Lothian Council
  • EAUC
  • Edinburgh City Council
  • Edinburgh College
  • Falkirk Council
  • Fife College
  • Fife Council
  • Forestry & Land Scotland
  • Glasgow City Council
  • Highlands and Islands Airports
  • Highland Council
  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Moray Council
  • National Galleries Scotland
  • National Trust Scotland
  • NatureScot
  • Network Rail
  • North Ayrshire Council
  • North Lanarkshire Council
  • Perth and Kinross Council
  • Police Scotland
  • Registers of Scotland
  • Renfrewshire Leisure Cultural Services
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Scottish Funding Council
  • Scottish Parliament
  • Scottish Water
  • Shetland Islands Council
  • South Ayrshire Council
  • South Lanarkshire Council
  • South of Scotland Enterprise
  • SPT
  • SRUC
  • St Andrews University
  • Stirling Council
  • Transport Scotland
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Strathclyde
  • West Dunbartonshire Council
  • West Lothian Council

Network activities

The Public Sector Climate Adaptation Network meets bi-annually to provide updates on progress and exchange learning. We host monthly informal discussion sessions for adaptation practitioners to meet. In addition, a range of capability building workshops are offered to the group including:

  • Training on 'Communicating Climate Adaptation' with Dr Susanne Moser (watch the presentation here)
  • 'Digital Facilitation Skills' workshop with Unity Effect (watch the presentation here)
  • Presentation on the Climate Projections for Scotland Summary by Anna Beswick, Adaptation Scotland Manager
  • Adaptation Mitigation Divide at the Local Scale - by Dr Matt Lane, PCAN Research Fellow (slides available here)
  • Presentation on 10,000 Raingardens for Scotland project by Emilie Wadsworth, Strategy and Development Manager at Green Action Trust (recording available here and slides here)

You can also hear how members of the Public Sector Climate Adaptation Network have used the Adaptation Capability Framework in practice in a video to mark the Framework's win of the IEMA Sustainability Impact Award here and read a detailed case study of participating member, Forestry Land Scotland here. In addition, a presentation on the Benchmarking Tool and Working Group is available on the WeAdapt website here.

You can read more about the benefits of the Public Sector Climate Adaptation Network in our blog on The Role of Learning Exchanges to support Climate Adaptation.

Public sector adaptation requirements

The public sector is subject to legislative climate change duties that require action to adapt and report progress. As set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, a “public body must, in exercising its functions, act: in the way best calculated to help deliver any (Scottish statutory adaptation programme).” This means that all public sector organisations must ensure their activities and programming are designed so as to best deliver Climate Ready Scotland: climate change adaptation programme 2019-2024. Many public sector organisations make use of the Adaptation Capability Framework to work towards these requirements.

All public bodies are required to report annually on compliance with climate change duties established under S44 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 and in accordance with Schedule 2 of the 2015 Order. Mandatory Public Bodies Climate Change Reporting began in 2015/16, and includes both mitigation and adaptation reporting requirements. Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) supports public sector organisations to address their climate change duties. SSN and Adaptation Scotland align their work to ensure a comprehensive landscape of support is available for the public sector.