Why focus on governance? Why focus on governance?

Climate change governance

Climate change governance can be defined as the internal systems and processes that affect the integration of climate change decision-making across an organisation.

Climate change governance is a core element of successfully mitigating and adapting to climate change. It includes institutional arrangements, supporting head of power,  resource allocation, executive and interdepartmental support, strategic planning, financial planning and any other activity that will enable climate change decision making to be organisationally integrated.

Value of assessing governance arrangements

Without reviewing and monitoring the adaptation governance system there is a risk that specific adaptation actions will be ad hoc, constrained by limited resourcing and political support and result in inefficient investment and unintended negative consequences.

Assessing your council’s governance arrangements will allow council to better identify and analyse the barriers and enablers to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

In addition to an overall governance profile, the assessments support governance improvements by providing:

  • internal comparisons across functional areas; and
  • comparison between councils (by region and by typology)

There are greater benefits to understanding your internal barriers and enablers, including:

  • better informing State and Federal government of local government climate change policy, program and resourcing needs;
  • contributing to insurance due diligence;
  • supporting legal analysis; and
  • supporting investment analysis.


The indicators used in the assessment have been identified by Climate Planning as essential local government drivers for ensuring that climate change mitigation and adaptation actions will arise from a well-grounded framework of policies, strategies, systems and processes.

Identifying the key indicators has come through a combination of applied and academic research (working with governments, the private sector, academic institutions and a broad array of non- government organisations).

The level of response to each indicator, determines how consistent, focused and repeatable decision-making for adaptation actions is likely to be.

Assessment approach

The performance of each local government against individual indicators is assessed through a review of policies, strategies, studies and other documents, an online survey of employees and qualitative face-to-face interviews with key council staff.

The scoring methodology uses a series of ‘competencies’ and ‘considerations’ to determine the level of practice against each indicator. The levels of practice range from ‘none’ to ‘advanced’.

The indicators do not identify a ‘pass value’, however, if the local government scores ‘high’ or ‘advanced’ on every indicator they are more likely to consistently implement climate change decisions in a timely, efficient and effective manner than if they had scored lower.

The indicators are intended to act as points for individual and collective focus, discussion, comparison and measurement.

The online survey and face-to-face interviews are used to drill deeper into staff awareness, understanding and knowledge of climate change impacts and responses within various departments in each local government.

Coming in 2019

Our participating councils are constantly improving their governance practice standards and to make sure they can keep their scores up to date, and give councils a chance to connect with each other on their governance improvement journey, the Q CRC program is building a 'climate change governance hub'.  Climate Planning will provide support to undertake a self-assessment that meets quality standards. Councils will be able to see which councils have scored a 'high' or 'advanced' practice standard and be able to connect with them to share insights and materials.