The role of local authorities is to support, but not drive their local Transition Initiative. The successful project is community-led with a bottom-up process, not top-down as municipal governments are structured.
Transition initiatives work independently of local politicians but try to cooperate wherever possible. Enthusiastic support of council is invaluable in helping transition initiatives grow, and can help ideas reach parts of the community that might not otherwise be reached.
One way a local council can help support transition initiatives is to pass a motion to endorse it. This support is very powerful in terms of being able to drive the initiative forward and enhance credibility, but should only be sought once the project has established a track record and has it’s own identity. Other ways a council can support Transition is to pass a resolution acknowledging peak oil and/or global warming.
A local transition initiative should have a local government committee and appoint a liason to council to help facilitate communication and cooperation amongst the groups. Public representatives should be invited to attend and participate in transition intitative events. The local government committee is expected to keep an eye out for council consultations and to appoint someone to attend.
Local councilors and other local government officials may want to attend Transition Initiative events and become members of their local initiative but should be careful not to appear to be driving the process. In the early stages of the process, members of the initiative should focus on raising awareness of and building support for the project and not get bogged down in the bewildering world of policy writing and local government work. In the later stages of development, local officials can provide valuable advise on how the political structure works and may want to become involved with the Initiative’s local government committee.