Scrutiny Week October 2014 #Manchester City Council

As ever, there is no single official page where you can find out what items are being discussed at the six scrutiny committee meetings being held this week.  (Manchester City Council, with 95 of its 96 councillors belonging to the Labour Party, has 6 committees that are supposed to keep the Exec and officers on track).  Such is the contempt and indifference for democracy and transparency that exists in powerful corners of the Town Hall.  Even the simple request of a former Executive member (Nigel Murphy) that upcoming meetings get listed at the top of the meetings page – which was agreed a month ago – has not been done.  They really are laughing in our faces.

Meanwhile, a no-better-than-the-first-or-second-time “implementation plan” for the Environmental Sustainability Subgroup is being brought, on Wednesday morning, to the Economy Scrutiny Committee.  Call me biased, but I think the far more detailed effort of the People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team is better…

 

Tuesday 21st October

Young People and Children’s

10am The Scrutiny Committee Room, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Neighbourhoods

2pm The Scrutiny Committee Room, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Wednesday 22nd October

Economy

10am The Scrutiny Committee Room, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Download the Agenda (Download Agenda. 39.02 KB)

Communities

2pm The Scrutiny Committee Room, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Thursday 23rd October

Finance

10am The Scrutiny Committee Room, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Health

2pm The Scrutiny Committee Room, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Posted in Democratic deficit | 1 Comment

Carbon Coop Ecohouses Open Days 18 and 19 October

Greater Manchester Open Eco-homes

Carbon Co-op is running another Greater Manchester Open Eco-homes weekend on 18th/19th October, an opportunity to meet the retrofit pioneers
transforming their homes with energy saving measures and green technologies.

As well as a series of pre-booked householder visits the event also features a free guided bus tour around three of the homes including one from Carbon Co-op’s recent Community Green Deal programme.

Pre-booking is essential! A list of homes and booking links can be found below. The bus tour leaves Hulme Community Garden Centre at 2pm on Saturday 18th October, click here to book.

(There are a very limited number of places remaining on the Routes to Retrofit seminar at the garden centre on the monring of Saturday 18th October.)

Details of the open homes and their opening times can be found below.

Name Area On bus tour? Sat am Sat pm Sun am Sun pm Book
Andrew Gage Cheadle Hulme Yes Info
Andy Hamilton Lancashire Yes Info
Charlie and Sarah Chorlton Yes Yes Info
Eddie Sheehy Eccles Yes Info
Eric Fewster Salford Yes Info
Geoff Thompson Marple Yes Info
John and Catriona Chorlton Yes Yes Info
Keith & Yvonne Chorlton Yes Yes Info
Nigel Rose Chorlton Yes Info

 

Participating homes….

Click on the picture to find out more and to book a visit

 

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Posted in Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

Please send “implementation plan” to your ward councillors, and others you know

The grassroots “People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team” has written an “implementation plan” on behalf of Manchester City Council. This follows two failed efforts by the Council’s own “Environmental Strategy Team” to write a plan.  Both those attempts were rejected by councillors on the Council’s Economy Scrutiny Committee as insufficiently detailed.

We now want you to send the PEST “implementation report” to your three ward councillors (whether or not they sit on the Economy Scrutiny Committee or the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee, the two committees that are due to get a third official attempt from the Council’s own officers) and to any other councillors you know.

You can find the email addresses of your three ward councillors by putting in your postcode here.

You could send an email that went something like this -

Dear Councillor,

I am sure you share my concern about climate change and sustainability.  You may be aware that an “Environmental Sustainability Subgroup” of councillors met four times between August 2013 and January of this year.  The subgroup came up with 18 recommendations, which were accepted by Neighbourhoods and Economy Scrutiny Committees in March.  Unfortunately, two separate attempts by the Council’s “Environmental Strategy Team” to produce an implementation plan for making those 18 recommendations into a reality were failures.  After the second rejection, the People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team, a new grass roots group, produced its own implementation plan around those 18 recommendations.

http://environmentalscrutiny.info/2014/10/13/pest-implementation-plan-for-environmental-sustainability-subgroup-recommendations/

I would be very grateful if you would read it and comment, and – if you are on either the Neighbourhoods or Economy Scrutiny Committees – take it forward for discussion alongside the Strategy Team’s next version.

It’s true that climate change is a global problem, and that Manchester is only one city;  but the Council – and the city – has made a series of commitments, and it needs to keep them in order to be ready for the enormous challenges ahead.  Hopefully this grass roots implementation plan can speed the process a little.

Yours sincerely

[Name, address]

 

Posted in Campaign Update, Climate Change Action Plan, Democratic deficit, Manchester City Council | Leave a comment

Community energy training day, Tues 4th November, #Manchester

I would like to invite you to a ‘training day’ workshop. This is for people who are interested in getting community owned renewable energy projects off the ground in their communities.

The objective of community owned solar projects are to help create  local ‘eco-hubs’ within neighbourhoods which lead to much wider benefits:

  • Provide clean, green electricity for at least twenty years helping to reduce CO2 emissions, aid security of energy supply and increase resilience.
  • Elevate awareness of the need to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate against climate change, through renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency.
  • Provide an educational resource for the local community.
  • Provide a cohesive central point for action in which the community can engage and build.
  • Provide a guaranteed, index linked income for the twenty year duration of the Feed-in-Tariff.
  • Provide further income from the sale of the electricity generated for the working life of the scheme.
  • The community will benefit from this revenue being reinvested in future schemes and other community projects such as helping to reduce housing energy costs  and raising awareness of energy efficiency measures.

The aim of the day will be for people to leave with business cases for potential projects which they can then take to building owners. Buildings that could be potential hosts for community solar projects include Schools, community buildings, any council owned buildings, business parks and offices (any further ideas welcome)

 

The day will take the following format:

  • Groups will be asked to come along with a lap top and 10 postcodes for buildings that could host potential solar projects
  • Step by step processes to develop a business case for potential projects
    • Measuring roofs using google earth
    • Calculating kWp capacity from roof areas
    • Using tools to find out what energy that area of roof will generate
    • Using a spread sheet tool to calculate output FIT and export generation
    • Using a ‘business case’ template to take to potential land owners
  • The project process, what you need to do, in order….
  • Finance options, funding and Community share issues….
  • The Community energy co-operative model, why and how it works
  • Social impact and evaluation of a project.

 

By the end of the workshop, groups should have an understanding of whether they have some projects and how they can progress them.  Groups will be able to take spreadsheet templates home with them, to continue their own research finding further projects.

Groups are being invited from across the Greater Manchester area, so it will also be a good opportunity to meet other groups/people with similar aspirations, to share notes and begin to form a network for sharing and transferring knowledge.

The workshop will start at 10.30am on Tuesday 4th November. It will finish at 4. Lunch will be provided. The venue is room B17, The Green fish Resource centre,  46 – 50 Oldham St, Manchester, M4 1LE – The nearest tram stop is Market Street in the Northern Quarter.

The workshop is free, but places are limited so please let me  know as soon as you can whether you can make the day.

If you are unable to bring a lap-top, please let me know.

Please forward this invitation to any friends or associates you know who may want to come along.

Many thanks and I’ll hope to see you on the day,

Kate

Kate Gilmartin: BSc, MSc
Director – Renewable Energy
07763 756549 · My Green Investment C.I.C
www.mygreeninvestment.com 
Registered in England No.8492208

Posted in Energy, Upcoming Events | 2 Comments

33 hours left to comment on the #Manchester Council sustainability “Implementation Plan”!

On Monday 13th October the People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team will send out an “implementation plan” that it has written for the benefit of themselves (as citizens) and for Manchester City Council.

The Council’s own “Environmental Strategy Team” has twice presented a plan for making councillors’ wishes into reality. Twice those councillors had said “not good enough, go do it again” (in June and September).  So we stepped in. We’ve produced a draft plan.

You have until 9pm on Sunday 12th October to comment on it.  We will then prepare the final version and put it on both Manchester Climate Monthly and environmentalscrutiny.info

We then want you to send that final version on to your 3 ward councillors, and also to any councillors you know, especially those who sit on the Economy and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committees…

 

Posted in Campaign Update, Climate Change Action Plan, Manchester City Council | Leave a comment

Help crowd-source a “just do it” plan for #Manchester City Council on #climate and #sustainability

Don’t worry. We don’t want your money. We want your ideas!

In March 2014 18 recommendations from a subgroup of Councillors about how the Council would “do” sustainability differently were agreed. Council officers were asked to make an “implementation plan” to turn those 18 recommendations into reality. In June they presented their version – and were told to go away and beef it up; councillors felt that the plan wasn’t sufficiently “SMART” (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-framed).

Officers presented a re-done “implementation plan” in September. And were sent away AGAIN by the Economy Scrutiny Committee!

This left citizens of Manchester who care about its future with a simple choice.

We could wait another 3 months before the third version of the implementation plan came back to Neighbourhoods and Economy Scrutiny Committees, with no guarantee that it would be acceptable to the councillors.

OR…

We could write an implementation plan ourselves, and then present it to councillors.

Four of us met last Sunday and came up with some draft ideas. Since then three other people have made major contributions to it.

You can look at it here (as a doc, or see below for html)

We’d LOVE you to look it over. It is QUITE A DRY document – we’ve written in in the sort of language that you sort of have to if you’re engaging with an intensely bureaucratic body. (And some of the ad hominems and sass have been taken out, over the dead body of Marc Hudson.)

You have until Sunday 9pm to send in your thoughts, by either commenting on this post or else emailing environmentalscrutiny@gmail.com

Sorry it’s so brief, but we want to get this out to councillors well before they meet on Tuesday 21st September and Wednesday 22nd September (2pm and 10am respectively – Neighbourhoods Scrutiny and Economy Scrutiny).

 

PEOPLE’S ENVIRONMENTAL SCRUTINY TEAM REPORT

Report to: Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee – 21 October 2014

Economy Scrutiny Committee – 22 October 2014

Subject: Environmental Sustainability Subgroup: Work Programme. People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team Version

Report of: People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team

Summary

The Manchester City Council (MCC)’s Environmental Sustainability Subgroup completed its work in January 2014. In March 2014 MCC at both Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee (NSC) and Economy Scrutiny Committee (ESC) agreed to implement its recommendations. But both attempts to create an implementation plan have been rejected by Economy Scrutiny as unsatisfactory. Rather than wait for a third attempt, a group of Manchester citizens has decided to write a plan and circulate it. This is done in a spirit of constructive criticism, imperative because of the enormous challenges of the linked crises in environment (including climate) and economy facing the city.

Given the workload that would be generated in completing the 18 recommendations, a short-term solution might be to re-establish an Environmental Sustainability Subgroup/Standing Group. We believe that the only viable long-term solution is to create a seventh Environmental Scrutiny Committee.

Recommendations

Members are requested to:

  1. Take note of the proposed actions and “SMART” metrics (specific, measurable, assignable)

  2. Consider these alongside the third official attempt at an implementation plan

  3. Consider our concluding recommendations at the end of this report

Wards Affected: All

Contact Person

Name: The authors, via…

Email: environmentalscrutiny@gmail.com

Background Documents

  • The Case for an Environmental Scrutiny Committee (August 2014)

http://environmentalscrutiny.info/our-reports/report-1-the-case-for-an-environmental-scrutiny-committee/

  • Total Carbon Footprint: time for a second step? Assessing Progress and Prospects for Manchester’s Consumption-Based carbon footprint measurements. (Sept 2014)

http://environmentalscrutiny.info/2014/09/17/total-carbon-footprint-time-for-a-second-step-new-report-out-now/

  • The Scrutiny Mutiny: Things Manchester City Council could do to really strengthen scrutiny, democracy and ‘resilience’ (Sept 2014)

http://environmentalscrutiny.info/2014/09/19/another-new-report-the-scrutiny-mutiny/

  • Ooh, that’s gotta SMART: the Environmental Sustainability Sub-group recommendations (Sept 2014)

http://environmentalscrutiny.info/2014/09/21/thats-gotta-smart-on-the-second-try-at-an-implementation-plan-for-the-environmental-sustainability-subgroup/

  • In Place of Growth: Practical steps to a Manchester where people thrive without harming the planet (Steady State Manchester) (October 2012)

http://steadystatemanchester.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/inplaceofgrowth_ipog_-content_final.pdf

  • Recommendations to Economy Scrutiny Committee (Steady State Manchester, May, 2013)

http://steadystatemanchester.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/list-of-ssm-recommendations-to-council-review-feb-2014.pdf

The approach we have taken in this report is to critique each of the 18 recommendations in the ESC and NSC resolution. We pick out in each:

  • what is valuable
  • where we disagree
  • how it could be improved, made clearer and more effective
  • how we propose implementation is measured so scrutiny committees can scrutinise what happens.

Throughout we wish to clarify in advance what will happen by making what is proposed more “SMART”:

  • Specific – precisely define what will happen;
  • Measurable – so we know how we will tell whether it has happened;
  • Assignable – so we know who will be responsible for doing it (or Ambitious – makes a real difference!);
  • Realistic – so we know it can be achieved from where we are now;
  • Time Bound – so we know when it should be done by.

 

 

Recommendation 001: When the Community Strategy is reviewed, more consideration is given of what makes for “good growth” for Manchester. To include the support and advice from local experts and interest groups such as the CLES (Centre for Local Economic Strategies), CRESC (Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change), the Tyndall Centre, Steady State Manchester and MERCi (Manchester Environmental Resource Centre initiative).

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

When the Community Strategy is reviewed, the Council should invite discussion of what kinds of growth are desirable and undesirable for Manchester

Good growth” is an entirely understandable wish, but risks being an untenable compromise or “greenwash”. Members are invited to read this article from the Steady State Manchester website. It might be more appropriate to use the term “selective growth”.

http://steadystatemanchester.net/2013/09/29/good-and-bad-growth/

All the above-mentioned groups, and others, should be invited to participate fully, not in the final consultation stage (May-June) but from the very initial process of the Manchester Leadership Forum Strategy Discussion Forums (September to November). Members of the ESC and NSC with an interest should also be able to attend.

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

New Economics Foundation – http://www.neweconomics.org/

Sustainable Consumption Institute of Manchester University

Other local social enterprise groups, including but not limited to – Unicorn Grocery, Manchester Veg People, Emerge, Treestation, Kindling Trust, Biospheric Foundation, Vegan Organic Network, the authors of the “Total Carbon Footprint” approach

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

  1. Hold an “unconference” into what the community strategy could look like.“Typically at an unconference, the agenda is created by the attendees at the beginning of the meeting. Anyone who wants to initiate a discussion on a topic can claim a time and a space. Unconferences typically feature open discussions rather than having a single speaker at the front of the room giving a talk, although any format is permitted. This form of conference is particularly useful when the attendees generally have a high level of expertise or knowledge in the field the conference convenes to discuss.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconference

  1. Month of related participative activities and related publicity campaign, enlisting support of above-named organisations

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

  1. A Strategy that is more likely to be an authentically “Community” Strategy, that embodies the real and “wicked” tensions in ensuring economic and social success with ecological safety.

  2. A working definition and consensus on what growth is and is not desirable for the City.
  3. If that’s not possible a clearer statement of what the Council is pursuing.
  4. Wider public discussion of issues

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

  1. All the above groups have given written submissions about the Community Strategy, and have been invited (with sufficient notice) to attend one or more Manchester Strategy planning sessions

What is the next/immediate action?

  1. Invite all the above named groups to attend the next “Strategy Discussion Forum” of the MLF
  2. Build links between these groups and individual councillors on the ESC and NSC; by inviting the groups to attend ESC/NSC, by members of the ESC/NSC attending their events.
  3. Create a video about the MLF, and the Manchester Strategy that is circulated widely.

Recommendation002: To recommend work is undertaken to measure Manchester’s “good growth”, linked to the work to be undertaken under recommendation 1. To include support, advice and input from local experts and interest groups such as CLES (Centre for Local Economic Strategies), CRESC (Centre for Research on Socio- Cultural Change), the Tyndall Centre, Steady State Manchester and MERCi (Manchester Environmental Resource Centre initiative

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

Work” is a relatively nebulous term! Is So we propose this made more SMART, with e.g.

  1. Definition of scope of measurements (what things we can measure in the City) in 2 months
  2. Tool for analysing defined activity in 4 months

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

New Economics Foundation.

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

Make sure that the input of the local groups is advertised, and that there is a way for unaffiliated members of the public ALSO to input BEFORE the consultation process in May-June next year.

Perhaps the Environmental Sustainability Subgroup needs to be re-established as an “Environmental Standing Group”, with a specific remit to drive forward the 18 recommendations?

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

There will be some confidence that the dashboard measures of economic, social and ecological well-being actually reflect what they are meant to (“construct validity”).

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

We can point to the number of people who have visited the relevant web pages of “the Manchester Partnership”, how many people have attended meetings, submitted comments, watched “basic explainer” videos.

There will be an agreed basket of measures, with a consensus summary of their degrees of dependability.

What is the next/immediate action?

  1. Accelerate the development of the monthly Environmental Dashboard so that it is in place as of November 2014 Review the dashboards for Economic and Social Indicators to ensure they reflect true economic and social well-being.
  2. Invite all named groups to be involved now.

Recommendation 003: That follow up work includes consideration of the economic impact of the green industry, including sustainable energy and the jobs market.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

It hasn’t really defined “green industry”. Does this mean renewable energy? The green building sector/retrofit? Local food? Something else? The report that came to Environmental Sustainability Subgroup should be referenced at this point.

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

Carbon Coop carbon.coop

Academics at the University of Manchester – e.g. Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (among many others!)

The Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub

The buildings subgroup of the “Steering Group”

Contact individuals and groups via the North West Sustainable Business Quarterly meetings. http://nwsbq.m4c-sustainability.co.uk/

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

As ever, hold well-publicised public meetings. Video them and put them on the web. Use social media to promote them

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

A shared, quantitative, understanding of the prospects of local ‘green industry’ to help in the greening of the economy and producing collateral social benefits.

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

What is the next/immediate action?

Recommendation 004: To recommend that when Economy Scrutiny Committee considers how local people benefit from economic success, environmental benefits are included.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

The environmental costs should also be considered?

A simple/dashboard type Environmental Impact Assessment is urgently needed

ESC should also be looking at economic ‘failure’ – otherwise their analysis will be incomplete and ‘celebrationist’.

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

New Economics Foundation

University of Manchester – Sustainable Consumption Institute (for example)

New Economy

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

The promised quarterly reports on the Climate Change Action Plan would be a good start!

Improved communications by ALL scrutiny committees.

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

More informed discussion at committee on the environmental impacts of economic activity.

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

Reports coming to Environmental Scrutiny Committee include this as of December 2014, using a standard framework for reporting (which will include identification of aspects where information is not available to answer the questions)..

What is the next/immediate action?

Send an email to all officers who are preparing any reports that are listed in the forward plan. “Dear officer, please include a section in the report that you will be bringing to Economy Scrutiny that assesses the environmental benefits and costs of the programmes/activities that we intend to scrutinise.”

(Recommendation 17 is distinct from this, as far as we can tell) – make available a standard summary front sheet for reports to committee with spaces for this information.

Recommendation 005: To recommend that the Environmental Strategy team lead on influencing officers to consider environmental matters in all relevant decisions through ward coordination.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

Need to assess how realistic this is, given the workload and capacity of the Environment Strategy Team and the number of wards they would have to cover. There is also a need to influence officers outwith the ward coordination process – since most decisions are not taken at ward level.

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

Councillors!

Local community groups, faith groups etc

TARAS

Ward coordinators

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

Using social media, creating basic materials that explain what the Council is already doing on environmental matters and would like to do, in a variety of languages and formats. Perhaps the “Eco-neighbourhoods” concept already includes this? It’s hard to tell.

Revive/extend the rubbish-focussed ward resident volunteer schemes (green champions?)

Environmental Strategy Team could offer a series of training workshops for ward coordinators

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

32 ward plans are being prepared that include mention of

  1. Climate mitigation

  2. Climate adaptation

  3. Disaster preparedness

What is the next/immediate action?

Create a web-page that lists all the ward co-ordinators

Create a web-page that lists the dates, times, venues of the upcoming ward-coordinator meetings, and links to previous agendas
Put posters up in shops/libraries etc to advertise

All councillors to be carbon literate by March 2015 (while not forgetting that the current target is 60 by end of 2014)

Get a report on the “Eco-neighbourhoods” “concept” presented to both Neighbourhoods and Economy Scrutiny Committees as a matter of urgency.

Recommendation 006: To recommend that the Environmental Strategy team facilitate workshops for councillors to help them understand how they can make a difference and equip them with the skills and knowledge to work with groups and individuals effectively. For the workshops to include how councillors can use their links to social housing providers and other key partners and practical examples of changes that can be made.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

This needs to be broken down into “face-to-face” skills and “social media” skills. Does it mean ALL councillors, or just councillors who sit on Neighbourhoods and Economy?

Why does it have to be Environmental Strategy Team? Given that they have subcontracted out the Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy, might it not also be a good idea to sub-contract out this?

The skills required here are a little complex, combining change management, local democracy, specific policy areas such as housing AND environment – it needs some thought as to the appropriate skills mix.

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

Academics and other groups (Friends of the Earth, Action for Sustainable Living, Steady-state Manchester, Cooler Projects etc) could be asked to facilitate short workshops before/after ESC and NSC.

Tyndall Centre or Sustainable Consumption Institute academics could be invited to deliver seminars as requested.

Public-I does training for councillors, but they are not a charity. http://www.public-i.info/

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

The workshops could be open to all, and the outcomes circulated.

Some kind of open-forum – a ‘safe space’ to explore ideas and reflect on policy and practice might be worth trying. That way there can be mutual support of among all parties on this difficult agenda.

Representatives from social housing providers could explicitly be invited to attend.

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

Councillors will have developed new skills and connections, with increased confidence around environmental agendas

Invite social media experts to deliver training on Facebook/Twitter etc. (we know some)

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

What is the next/immediate action?

Start holding workshops before or after Scrutiny Committees, as of November 2014. Obviously attendance will not be 100%, but that’s not the point!

Create a list of core skills that councillors feel are necessary, and encourage them to create a personal development plan (See for example the PEST skills audit!)

Recommendation 007: To recommend that councillors carry out an audit of all the work, projects and schemes in their wards on environmental and climate change action.

To work with key local organisations such as social housing providers to do this. To recommend that the workshops for members should be used to support members in this.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

Again, does this refer to ALL councillors, or members of Economy and Neighbourhoods?

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

Universities, secondary schools

Action for Sustainable Living

Friends of the Earth

Greater Manchester Ecology Unit, Association of Manchester Open Spaces Societies (AMOSS), Friends of Parks groups not affiliated to AMOSS, Local Natural History Societies.

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

Why not ask university lecturers in relevant departments (Geography, urban planning etc) if they would assign “ward audits” as a course option.

Why not identify schools where sixth formers could work with councillors and a teacher to undertake this work?
Hold an awards ceremony for the best done audit?

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

The audits could form a useful baseline for the ward plans, against which future progress could be measured.

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

6 audits (including, obviously, the wards of the chairs of Economy and Neighbourhoods) will have been completed, publicised, with a “lessons learnt” document so that other auditors don’t make the same mistakes

6 other audits have started. (That would still leave 20 wards un-audited)

What is the next/immediate action?

Identify 4 councillors who are in wards other than those of the ESC/NSC scrutiny chairs who are willing to begin audits. Have them report back on progress, orally, at every subsequent ESC/NSC meeting.

For god’s sake, JUST DO IT.

Recommendation 008: To circulate the CLASP (Climate Change Local Area Support Programme) Member Briefing Pack to all councillors.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

Have all the new councillors received the CLASP Member Briefing Pack? Has it been bedded in to the new councillor induction process (alongside, perhaps, Carbon Literacy training?)

If and when CLASP produces new versions, or new documents, will these be circulated as a matter of course to all councillors?

Are there other briefing packs (e.g. from ICLEI) and other relevant organisations that might be of use?

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

CLASP

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

Can the CLASP update also be sent out to Housing Associations, other Public Sector organisations.
Could the Environmental Strategy team liaise with the relevant Executive members in the nine other local authorities that make up GMCA to ensure that other councillors have access to the same information?

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

What is the next/immediate action?

Councillors to forward the CLASP Member Briefing Pack on to relevant TARAs/social housing providers etc

CLASP is the local authority and public sector sustainability support service for the NW of England. A not-for-profit service, providing free support for Local Authorities and their partners, on dealing with the challenges of environmental resilience, reducing energy use, and renewable energy planning issues.”

http://www.claspinfo.org/about

Recommendation 009: To recommend that, once Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee had looked at the sustainable food growth report, Economy Scrutiny Committee considers looking at the poverty and economic aspects of sustainable food growing.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

Can not these two aspects be conducted in parallel, or better, via a joint Standing Group?

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

Food Ethics Council http://www.foodethicscouncil.org/

Reconomy project Lambeth.

Enfield Council

CRESC

Kindling Trust

University of Manchester – Sustainable Consumption Institute, Tyndall Centre

Poverty Commission

Real Food Wythenshawe

Cracking Good Food

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

Economy Scrutiny Committee could hold another “mini-conference”, ideally before March 2015, along the model of the May 2012 meeting, with not just the Manchester Food Board, but practitioners from (greater) Manchester projects.

The findings of this should surely be included in the development of the Community Strategy, no?

In addition the above mentioned groups (and others) could be alerted to the fact that Economy Scrutiny has an interest in the poverty/economic aspects of sustainable food growing

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

A policy framework for the city’s development of a sustainable and ethical food economy: it will be produced by the Food Board and validated through the scrutiny process.

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

What is the next/immediate action?

Investigate the possibility of bringing forward the report of the Manchester Food Board.

Recommendation 010: To recommend that environmental policies are strengthened through the Council’s planning process.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

This is a pretty vague recommendation. “Is the “planning process” adequate, in terms of environmental considerations? What IS the planning process?

Can it be connected in some way to the AGMA spatial strategy revision?

Is it not a good idea to build in some specific aspect – e.g. exceeding building regulations on insulation standards?

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

Royal Institute for the Built Environment (RIBA)

Town and Country Planning Association

Greater Manchester Ecology Unit, Association of Manchester Open Spaces Societies (AMOSS), Friends of Parks groups not affiliated to AMOSS, Local Natural History Societies.

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

External stakeholders are at an enormous disadvantage because of the very opaque and confusing planning processes and procedures. Anything the committees can do to lessen that disadvantage is in the long-term interests of the Council and the city.

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

What is the next/immediate action?

Request that a simplified flowchart of the “planning process” is produced for the benefit of councillors – and others.

Refine this recommendation.

Request a short report from the planning department on the current criteria they use and how many projects have been rejected because they did not pass the relevant “gateways.”

Recommendation 011: To recommend that the Council continues to include environmental considerations when selecting a supplier, through the implementation of its Sustainable Procurement Policy. And that the impact of the policy is reviewed and that it is updated as required.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

The “10%” weighting for sustainability is an encouraging trend!

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

Certification Organisations

Ethical Consumer Research Association (based in Hulme)

http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/aboutus.aspx

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

The Council needs to communicate better what it is doing, and why.

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

The council will be able to claim a lower carbon footprint

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

What is the next/immediate action?

Agree frequency for reporting and updating of the Sustainable Procurement Policy. Reports should include examples of suppliers whose contracts were not renewed/were extensively modified – otherwise there will be a suspicion that the policy is a tick-box exercise with no teeth.

Recommendation 012: To recommend that the Economic Development Unit, Corporate Procurement, Environmental Strategy and other relevant departments continue to implement the Council’s Sustainable Procurement Policy, using procurement as a tool to support sustainable economic development, including the achievement of environmental outcomes.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

Could be merged with recommendation 11?

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

What is the next/immediate action?

Invite Economic Development Unit and Corporate Procurement Unit to produce brief reports on their use of the Sustainable Procurement Policy.

  • What has gone well?

  • What has proved challenging?

  • What scope is there for strengthening the policy?

Recommendation 13: To recommend that the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) work with CLES to determine what proportion of their procurement budget stays within Greater Manchester, and considers revising their procurement policies to maximise this.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

Big question – how does the proposed “Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” affect the Council/AGMAs ability to act in this way?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_Trade_and_Investment_Partnership

Can this somehow be grounded in a) size of council budget and b) size of Manchester economy – to give an idea of real impact.

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

New Economics Foundation

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

A report will either have been produced or an oral update given to both Economy Scrutiny and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny.

What is the next/immediate action?

Establish a date by which the Council’s Head of Corporate Procurement will have completed his work with AGMA and will be able to present a “Social Values Evaluation Framework” to the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny and Economy Scrutiny Committees.

Are we talking 6 weeks? 6 months? 6 years?

Request report that lists what changes in proportion of procurement budgets has stayed within Greater Manchester, broken down for each of the 10 local authorities. Invite representatives from the top three local authorities to attend Economy Scrutiny to explain how they did it.

Recommendation 014: To recommend that corporate communications and awareness raising on environmental matters should be improved.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

What exactly is meant by “corporate communications”? Is that purely internal to the Council?

It is encouraging that a Task and Finish group is being established by Finance Scrutiny Committee to look at communications. (This follows the serious and prolonged difficulties surrounding the administering and communicating of the Clean City Fund.)

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

Greater Manchester Ecology Unit

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

Make council communications

  • Easily digestible

  • Put reports etc on internet in html as well as as PDFs

  • Use videos (perhaps a youtube channel) more

  • Consider translations into other languages, devise ways of enabling better communications with people who have poor reading ability

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

The “Communications” Task and Finish Group’s recommendations are circulated for comment to all the scrutiny committees, and to all people who have attended scrutiny meetings or council events.

What is the next/immediate action?

  • The Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee agreed at its September meeting to request a report, to be presented in January 2015, on the roll-out of Carbon Literacy training to councillors, with “lessons learnt”. This report could also come to Economy Scrutiny.

  • Request an “impact report” of the Carbon Literacy training that has already taken place for employees. Have council employees found it useful? What behaviours have they changed?

  • How does Manchester City Council compare to other councils in trying to create a “low carbon culture”? What is a “low carbon culture” by the way? Surely somebody should come up with a draft definition?

  • Project Odysseus” data to be included in monthly Environmental Dashboard.

Recommendation 015: To recommend that officers investigate carrying out a campaign to raise awareness of how people can make changes to reduce their impact on the environment. This campaign should link to wider cultural and behaviour change activity by the Council and other key partners such as universities and schools.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

Don’t investigate. Do it.

But keep this in proportion – it is not individual behaviour change that will ‘save the planet’ but the behaviour of organisations. So be clear about what this is for – a legitimate goal is to increase awareness and consent to radical environmentally safe policies.

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

Business associations

Bus Companies

Keep Britain Tidy/etc

Cycling organisations

Greater Manchester Ecology Unit

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

Offer genuine incentives to public/businesses etc. to change behaviour

Publicise the existence of the quarterly Cycling Forum

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

What is the next/immediate action?

Announce specific campaigns, and invite different members of Economy Scrutiny Committee/Neighbourhoods Scrutiny to be involved in their delivery (tying in to ward-based activity and audits)

Recommendation 016: That the Council develops an energy policy which reflects the priorities identified in the investigation.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

Our understanding is that this important area was added to the working group’s recommendations at a fairly late stage in its process. Some further work is needed to tie it in with the rest of the work, possibly on the lines of the work on food – the policy should cover fuel sources (emphasising renewables), fuel use (with a clear ‘energy descent plan’) and economic justice ( especially fuel poverty).

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

Councillor Neil Swannick

Manchester Energy

http://www.energy.manchester.ac.uk/

Carbon Coop www.carbon.coop

Local Government Association http://www.local.gov.uk/


ICLEI “Local Governments for Sustainability” http://www.iclei.org/

Also worth a look at how German local authorities have progressed this question. http://energytransition.de/2012/10/key-findings/

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

Working with academics, practitioners

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

Beginnings of a local energy strategy.

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

What is the next/immediate action?

Redefine the recommendation!

Bring the “”review and options” appraisal that is conducted at the October Environmental Strategy Programme Board to November 2014 Economy Scrutiny and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny as reports for information.

Schedule a report on the identified “best practice” from the 8 other core cities/UK local authorities, international cities

Recommendation 017: To recommend that all Executive reports include consideration of the impact the decision has on the environment.

Could this recommendation be improved/extended?

The response in implementation plan two “the recommendation is being considered” is not SMART. When? By who?

Please define “Executive Reports” – are these reports to the Executive (cabinet) of the council?

Again, a proforma would help that steers report writers to answer the relevant questions. There is a danger though that this could be tokenistic: how can this be made to ‘bite’?

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

An Executive Member could show up. That would demonstrate some respect for the process of scrutiny.

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

There will be a new section in every report!!

What is the next/immediate action?

A member of the Executive should be asked to come to the Neighbourhoods and Economy Scrutiny Committees and explain why no written response was given to this in the September implementation report, six months after the two committees accepted the recommendations. And to give an update on what decision has been taken and when it will be rolled out.

Recommendation 018: To recommend that the Economy Scrutiny Committee monitor the implementation of these recommendations.

Is this recommendation fit-for-purpose?

Very!

Who else might be able to help the Council complete this recommendation (locally, regionally, nationally)?

Friends of the Earth

People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team

Greater Manchester Ecology Unit

How can this recommendation be completed in ways that improve the Council’s external relationships, and increase the ability of other stakeholders to engage with it?

Given the serious difficulties in getting an acceptable implementation plan, with SMART goals, it might help if there were to be a monthly progress report, with specific goals and a “traffic light” system that can highlight progress.

Members of the public and organisations should be sent this monthly progress report and invited to submit their ideas, offers of help etc.

What will this look like – what will be different after we have taken action?

There is both action and SMART goals.

How will we know in six months how much progress is being made?

What is the next/immediate action?

A monthly dashboard for Environmental activity is established, that includes the recommendations (with refinements) laid out in this report. The dashboard is included in the overview report of both Neighbourhoods and Economy Scrutiny Committees, and also circulated to other councillors, other stakeholders.

The quarterly progress reports on the Climate Change Action Plan (promised by the Executive Member for the Environment in February 2014) are instituted.

Concluding remarks
Given the number and variety of reports/requests for information already generated, it is clear that these items cannot fit within the existing forward plans of the Neighbourhoods and Economy Scrutiny Committees.

A short-term solution might be to (re-)establish an Environmental Sustainability Subgroup or standing group.

The only viable long-term solution is to create a seventh Environmental Scrutiny Committee.

Posted in Manchester City Council | 4 Comments

Ocean acidification – interview with Professor Jason Hall-Spencer in #Manchester, 6th October

See also:
‘Jacuzzi vents’ model C02 future

Wikipedia article on ocean acidification

And in yesterday’s issue of the excellent “Daily Climate” news feed

Past measurements may have missed massive ocean warming

Fish failing to adapt to rising carbon dioxide levels in ocean

Posted in academia, Biodiversity, Interview, youtubes | Leave a comment