Job Alert- Sustainability Manager for “Green Space Dark Skies” deadline 20th December

Cool job with Walk the Plank

Sustainability Manager – Green Space Dark Skies (part of Unboxed: Creativity in the UK)

1 x Freelance Position

Project Fee: £24,000 (fixed fee, for approx. 10-15 days pcm, Jan 22 – Oct 22)

Flexible, with some office-based working required. (We are based at Cobden Works, Salford)

The Sustainability Manager is a key position within the Green Space Dark Skies Production Team and will be responsible for the effective implementation of the GSDS Sustainability Strategy across the scope of the whole project, ensuring effective planning and management of the UK-wide monitoring and reporting activity necessary for successful and efficient delivery of the project’s significant sustainability aims and ambitions.

THE PROJECT

Green Space Dark Skies is a Walk the Plank project that has been commissioned by Unboxed: Creativity in the UK – one of 10 groundbreaking commissions designed to reach millions, bring people together, and showcase UK creativity globally, underpinned by three values: to be open, original and optimistic.

Green Space Dark Skies will see up to 24 spectacular events in the landscape embedded in a 12-month programme of engagement that celebrates the contemporary landscapes of Britain while also flinging open the doors and welcoming people in. The project is UK wide: 13 events in England, four in Scotland, four in Wales and three in Northern Ireland.

Green Spaces Dark Skies places environmental sustainability at its core, aiming to deliver significant positive social and environmental impact for all. We aim to be a carbon net-positive project, combining exemplar low-emissions production with climate investments benefiting nature and communities.

KEY QUALITIES

  • Self-starter used to working on own initiative.
  • Good understanding of environmental sustainability and event industry best practice.
  • An appreciation of the value of data and with a keen eye for detail.
  • Methodical working.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Able to advocate for the project and to engage with a range of stakeholders as necessary.
  • Able to be entrepreneurial and willing to innovate.
  • A passion for sustainable working and committed to inclusive practice, with evidence of promoting inclusive working in previous roles.

How To Apply

Please visit our website to read the Job Pack for full opportunity details and a detailed role description before applying. To apply send your current CV together with a supporting statement (created as a single PDF or Word document) to recruitment@walktheplank.co.uk

Deadline for Application Submissions: Monday 20th December, 12noon GMT

Informal interviews: week commencing 3rd January at Cobden Works, Walk the Plank’s offices (Cobden Works, 37 – 41 Cobden St, Salford M6 6WF)

If you would like to arrange an informal chat about this role, please contact Nathan Jackson, Head of Production on recruitment@walktheplank.co.uk

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Council environment “leader” holds takes no emergency action on carbon budget blow out.

The person in charge of Manchester’s response to climate change had held precisely ZERO meetings about getting the city vaguely close to its carbon-cutting emissions.

A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed the shocking fact that the Executive Member for the Environment, Tracy Rawlins, has not held any emergency meetings about the carbon budget blowout with faith leaders, business leaders or, well, anyone.

In November 2018 Manchester City Council and its Climate “Partnership” announced that Manchester was to be a zero carbon city by 2038. They were very keen to get loads of publicity for this. In July 2019 the Council, after pressure from activists, declared a climate emergency and added ” or sooner” to that aspiration.

The carbon budget for the city is 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, to last for the rest of the 21st century. The latest figures, known to the Council for several months, and snuck out in September and November, reveal – once you’ve found the buried information and decoded the deliberately hard-to-understand graphs – that in the last 3 years, even with COVID dampening economic activity, the city has burnt … 6 million tonnes. That’s 40% of the budget for 80 years…

If the Council cared about the carbon budget, or was planning to do more than hide behind its own “cuts” (mostly an artefact of austerity), it would be holding regular emergency meetings with various stakeholders, left, right and centre. Instead, well, read it and weep.

On November 4th I wrote to them

Dear Sir/Madam,

recently a spokesperson for the Council  conceded that
“We fully recognise that while the city as a whole has seen year-on-year reductions in its carbon emissions these have not yet been sufficient to say that Manchester is on the right trajectory to meet the citywide 2038 target.”

That got left out of their response, which continues below

Dear Marc Hudson

Re: Request for Information – Actions by Executive Member for the Environment– Reference Number: FOI/6021

Thank you for your request for information, which was received by Manchester City Council on 04/11/2021 and has been considered under the provisions of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (“the EIR”).

You have requested the following information:

I want to know, in the past 5 months, since becoming Executive Member for the Environment,  what action has Tracey Rawlins taken to help organisations in the city get on this “right trajectory”.  

Has she held any emergency summits with fellow Executive Members and/or members of the Council’s SMT? If so, on what dates, who attended, what were the outcomes. If not, why not, and are any planned? 

Response: There are no records of meetings entitled ’emergency summits’ held with fellow Executive Members and/or members of the Council’s SMT. None are currently planned. 

Has she held any emergency summits with businesses leaders? If so, on what dates, who attended, what were the outcomes? If not, why not, and are any planned? 

Response: There are no records of the Executive Member for the Environment holding meetings entitled ’emergency summits’ held with business leaders. None are currently planned. 

Has she held any emergency summits with faith leaders? If so, on what dates, who attended, what were the outcomes? If not, why not, and are any planned? 

Response: There are no records of the Executive Member for the Environment holding meetings entitled ’emergency summits’ held with faith leaders. None are currently planned. 

Has she held any emergency summits with community leaders? If so, on what dates, who attended, what were the outcomes? If not, why not, and are any planned? 

Response: There are no records of the Executive Member for the Environment holding meetings entitled ’emergency summits’ held with community leaders. None are currently planned. 

Has she held any emergency summits with members of the Climate Change “Partnership” under the banner of the Partnership.  If so, on what dates, who attended, what were the outcomes. If not, why not, and are any planned? 

Response: There are no records of the Executive member the Executive Member for the Environment holding meetings entitled ’emergency summits’ held with members of the Climate Change “Partnership” under the banner of the Partnership. None are currently planned. 

Has she asked the Partnership to display the existence of climate change and the need to take urgent local action on their websites? If so, when did she ask this and what were the replies. If not, why not, and does she ever intend to do so. 

Response: There are no records of the the Executive Member for the Environment asking the Partnership to display the existence of climate change and the need to take urgent local action on their websites. 

So, what action HAS the Executive Member taken since getting the gig? It’s hard to say. Note also that in each occasion we asked “if not, why not” and there has been no answer to that on any of the questions. So, will ask for them to clarify this, and if not, will go to internal review… Here’s the email I just sent back

Dear Mr Kershner,

thank you for your reply to this FOIA.

If at all possible, I would like to avoid an internal review.

I would like complete answers to all the questions. None has in fact been comprehensively answered.

For the questions about emergency summits, if you look again, you will see that it says “if not, why not.”  At no point is there any explanation given for the lack of an emergency summit. It may be that in some cases the Executive Member heard on the grapevine that, for example, the business community wasn’t interested, or that faith leaders thought that prayer would be enough. It may be that she was too busy doing other things.  Whatever it is, I would like to answers to each of those questions.

In addition, on the last question, concerning contacting the Partnership members about their websites, I asked if there were any plans to do so. The response provided did not answer that part of my question.

Please let me know in the next 48 hours if you intend to provide this information. If I do not hear from you, I will assume that you are not going to do so, and will – with reluctance – pursue the internal review option.


Yours sincerely
Marc Hudson

Posted in Manchester City Council | Leave a comment

Brilliant new report on “#Manchester Airport versus the Carbon Budget”

Climate Emergency Manchester (1) has released a brilliant 15 page report pointing out that an expanding airport (Manchester City Council owns 35.5%, btw) is not compatible with reaching the emissions reductions we need to.

You can read their blog post (and access the report itself) here.

Please share widely in all your networks.

Next Thursday, 9th December, the Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee of Manchester City Council meets. Will they allow CEM to speak? Time will tell.

Footnotes

(1) Full disclosure – I was a co-founder/core group member. I left the group in November 2021 because I’m out of here soon.

Posted in Manchester Airport, Manchester City Council | Leave a comment

Complaint about #Manchester City Council Comms Team

The Comms team of Manchester City Council said, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, that the majority of its members had done their carbon literacy training. This was not true – only 11 of the 50 had done the training.

Below is a complaint to the City Solicitor of Manchester City Council, sent today, 30th November.

Dear Ms Ledden,

it has now been a week since your response to my questions about the shocking incident with the City Council Comms team and their false claim that 11 is a bigger number than 26. 
I have mulled whether to submit a Freedom of Information Act request and – more seriously – a complaint.

As we learnt during the Trump years, “the standard you walk by is the standard you accept.” 

I have decided I can’t walk by.  Therefore I have already submitted a Freedom of Information Act request today, seeking answers that you chose not to give. 

If I had received information about how the false claim about the carbon literacy status of the Comms team had been made, I would not be making this complaint.If I had received plausible and detailed assurance of what had been learned, by who, and how, I would not be making this complaint.
I did not receive information or assurance.  Therefore, I have no choice but to make a complaint.

I am making a formal complaint about an unnamed member of the Comms team who generated the reply to my initial Freedom of Information Acct request about how many members of the Comms team were carbon literate.  This unnamed officer told me that the majority of the Comms team had completed their carbon literacy training This, as we now know following an internal review requested by me revealed, was not true.  Only 11 members of the 50 person team had completed their training.

While I acknowledge the apology from the Head of the Comms team and yourself, these apologies provided precisely  no detail about how the false information was generated, and what actual learning is taking place within the organisation, and how processes are being changed.

A resolution of this complaint would involve
a) a detailed narrative explanation of how the false information came to be generated and transmitted.
b) an explanation of what remedial action (disciplinary or otherwise) has already been taken/is being taken on the unnamed officer (please note, I have zero interest in knowing this individual’s name, or in this individual being identified.
c) a detailed explanation of how the Communications Team intends to tighten its procedures so a repeat is less likely (n.b. I am not seeking a bland assurance – that has already been provided – I am seeking a detailed explanation of process.)

I had hoped this matter, serious as it is, could have been resolved without recourse to the complaints procedure. But I have to operate in the world that the Council has chosen to create, rather than the one that we could and should be living in.

I look forward to your acknowledgement of this complaint, and a prompt investigation, the results of which are communicated to me.

Posted in Manchester City Council | Leave a comment

Failed #Manchester #climate “Agency” sneaks out report about massive carbon budget blowout.

The Manchester Climate Change “Agency” – a formidably expensive figleaf for Manchester City Council that isn’t even an agency (1) – has chosen to wait until after COP26 to release a deeply embarrassing report that reveals that the city is way way off track on hitting its carbon emissions reductions.

In previous years the “Agency” has released its annual report in June or July, and even held an AGM (renamed as a ‘conference’, even though it only lasted an hour and a half). However, this year, despite the obvious hook of the COP26 in Glasgow, the Agency somehow the lavishly-funded body was mysteriously not able to release its report until Thursday November 18th. Doubtless they were gutted about this, and about how the journalists covering the climate issue were exhausted/their editors telling them to get on with other things.

Doubtless this is why the Agency only tweeted out the link once, and didn’t even both to put the report’s launch as a separate item on its so-called “news” page (turns out it isn’t just green groups who are useless at comms.)

Right, enough sarcasm, this is serious. There are limits. This “Agency” is paid for out of public funds. There are supposed to be standards. There’s supposed to be leadership, honesty.

The basic facts are these:

In 2018 Manchester City Council, the “independent” agency and a bunch of organisations it had corralled and called a “partnership” announced that Manchester was going to be net zero by 2038, 12 years ahead of the national target. It hired the Tyndall Centre to do some sums. The sums came back that the city had a 15 million tonne carbon budget for the rest of the 21st century.

In 2020 it was revealed that the city had already burnt through almost 4 million tonnesl (26%) in 2 years. No emergency action was taken. But the climate change “Agency” held a 90 minute “conference” where they said the event was not about climate change but the economy.

In September 2021, the statistics around Manchester missing its carbon budget were released in an appendix to a report going to the Environment and Climate Scrutiny Committee. But for a sign that said “beware of the leopard” they couldn’t have been buried any deeper. As Climate Emergency Manchester revealed at the time, they showed that the city has now burned 6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s 40%. In three years.

Not that this was clearly stated. No, they buried in in confusing bar graphs.

All the new report has done is change the colour scheme.

That’s it. But a cynic might say thatit also explains why the publication was delayed until AFTER the COP26 circus was over: they didn’t want any journalists asking awkward questions.

The relevant info is buried on page 21 of a (padded) 78 page report, of course.

The Agency is burying all this as deep as it can. Next year, not only will they not bother holding an AGM (how is that even legal?) but they’ll publish the report only in Swahili, with a little “enter your credit card details here for a Polish translation” button.

The rest of the report is the usual drivel. What’s interesting though, is nowhere do they release a list of the 60 organisations in the “partnership”. They just let various outfits take up space talking about themselves. An elected member of the Environment and Climate Scrutiny Committee asked in September for that list of organisations. Was promised she’d get it, by the director of the “Agency.” Wasn’t given it. Asked again in October. Wasn’t given it. Has, now, finally been given it. Is this incompetence? Or contempt for democratic norms? Or perhaps both?

What is to be done?

If you give a damn about this city, you gotta get involved in (or start?) a group that is gonna stick around. So many groups have died in the last two years. With consequences-

And you’re gonna have to learn to read these noxious bullshit documents and take notes, and hold the authors to account.

This document is useless but also essential. Reading it won’t make you more knowledgeable about what has been done, needs to be done. It WILL however, if you read it well (and with others), make you aware of how they spin, prevaricate and bullshit.

Manchester Climate Monthly will soon be “done.” If you want to get involved in an organisation that is trying (and often succeeding) in doing the needed work, then look no further than Climate Emergency Manchester – contact@climateemergencymanchester.net

Footnotes

(1) An agency, in public sector terms, is a body that can be subjected to Freedom of Information Act requests. In 2015 Manchester City Council abolished a “stakeholder steering group” that WAS subjected) to FOIAs and set up a CIC (Community Interest Company) which it then renamed as an Agency. HOWEVER, Manchester City Council is basically the only funder of this group, and recruited and pays the wages of its director, who was until her appointment an MCC employee.

Posted in Manchester City Council, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saying nothing to nobody – Manchester green groups comms catastrophe #Unsolicited Advice ‘#WinningFriends #Obnoxious

This blog post is going to look at the the public “communications” of three prominent climate/environmental groups in Manchester and say “WTAF”.

If you’re familiar with MCFly none of this will be a surprise. If you’re not, you’ll be wondering “who the hell does this obnoxious arsehole [‘asshole’, if you’re American] think he is, doing these ‘calling outs’?” Short answer – I’m a veteran of 14 years of local climate campaigning who has never really been very good at caring what other people think [replicant?] and now has even less cause to care, because I’m on my “victory” lap (1). You gotta understand, I’ve tried praise sandwiches, practical help with these outfits, and I have seen them ignore not just me [totally understandable – I sympathise in fact] but also ignore other people. These groups just don’t seem to have the absorptive capaciity.

And let’s do the ‘so what’ bit first, the why anyone should care that these groups underperform on comms. It’s this: there are loads of people out there scared/concerned about climate change. (See survey here). A number (a small number) of those people probably want to get involved in ‘activism’. A subset of those people might even try to find out how to get involved in local groups. If they can’t get up-to-date information via a cursory internet search, then they are going to assume that a) the groups are not interested in new members and/or b) they as individuals haven’t looked in the right place, aren’t plugged into the right networks.

And that, children, is how the Bad Guys won the war to keep the species on a path to self-destruction…

So, finally, the three groups are, in descending order of importance – The Manchester Green Party, Extinction Rebellion and the so-called “COP26 Coalition.”

Manchester Green Party (MGP) has been around for decades. They had a councillor from 2003 to 2008. Earlier this year they got another councillor, who wanted to sit on the Environment and Climate Scrutiny Committee (the one that had been fought for and won by Climate Emergency Manchester). Thanks to Labour Group, he wasn’t able to. Now, I think there were a bunch of things the Green Party could have done about that which would have raised their profile and raised the political legitimacy costs to Labour over that shitty decision. MGP didn’t do anything that I can see. But – and here’s the worst part, it isn’t even putting up blog posts about how the City and Council are doing on climate change (terribly). They aren’t even putting up blog posts on what the Councillor is doing on the scrutiny committee he IS sitting on.

So, a random person, trying to figure out what the Green Party actually DOES, other than campaign to get another councillor, is none the wiser, because there have been no new blog posts on the Manchester Green Party’s website since the beginning of September (and that was a link to a softball interview on media site!). That’s basically three months. I mean, wtaf?

Next up, Extinction Rebellion Manchester. Everyone knows XR, right? Everyone has an opinion. Well, gutsy and clever XR activists just did a co-ordinated blockade of 13 Amazon distribution sites. Including at Manchester Airport.

So you’d think that the XR Manchester website might have something about it? Nope, nada, crickets. The website doesn’t even have an advert for the upcoming XR Xmas gathering at Sandbar (Saturday 11th December from 6pm, since you ask – they’re not holding any regular meetings until 2022, because they’re tired. Thank god Climate Change isn’t an emergency, eh?). So someone wanting to get involved, but who wants to know what it’s all about before sending a Twitter DM is… supposed to do what, exactly? If a group can’t even put up a statement about a high profile action, where four people got arrested, then what kind of comms IS it interested in/capable of?

Last and least, the laughable so-called “COP 26 Coalition Manchester.”

This outfit spaffed over 600 quid on a stage and sound system so some tiny groups desperate for an audience could talk to each other in banalities, generalities and worthy out-of-dateries on November 6th. They managed to point a long-out-of-date URL (that’s been on a banner, undermining the credibility of the broader ‘movement’ for years) to a Facebook page. And have they updated that Facebook page or even sent out Tweets since then? Yes, once, after this site and another pointed to the silence and on 20th November there was some minimal activity. And that was 8 days ago. Since then? Crickets.

Again, this matters. On basic grounds of competence and regularity, if you’re not able to even tell people who might be supportive what you are up to, they are going to look at your silence and get a signal.

Here we are, as the planet burns (or rather, as people with our lifestyles and bigger burn the planet), unwilling (or unable?) to do the basic bread and butter kinds of social movement organisation activity which is necessary but not sufficient to even maintaining an organisation, let alone growing a wider movement. So very glad

a) I am leaving Manchester and wont’ be “talking into the void”.

b) I didn’t breed.

When prominent organisations, which claim to be building radical resistance to the destruction of the conditions for continued human existence on this planet are this useless, with consequences for the credibility of climate activism more generally, it is mildly irksome.

Footnotes

(1) Ha ha ha. “total failure lap” is more like it.

Posted in Unsolicited advice | 2 Comments

XR block 13 Amazon distribution sites, including #Manchester

From an email –

BREAKING NEWS: XR has blocked 13 of Amazon’s biggest fulfilment centres around the UK, as well as some in the Netherlands and Germany, in a Black Friday action. We’re taking a stand against one of the world’s biggest companies, its exploitative business model and the destructive system it represents.

Amazon is committing crimes against the planet and its people. From exploiting its workers and avoiding tax, to sending billionaires into space for fun and emitting the same amount of carbon as a country the size of Denmark – Amazon is responsible for untold crimes.

➡️Read the press release HERE with a full list of Amazon’s Crimes.

➡️Watch the livestream HERE with a view of all the sites around the UK.

This action today is also in solidarity with the Make Amazon Pay campaign where workers and activists are rising up in strikes and protests in oil refineries, factories, warehouses, data centres, and corporate offices in countries across the world.

JOIN US AT THE SITES Come down to a site and show your support. Rebels could be locked on for up to 48 hours and they would love to see some friendly faces, and probably wouldn’t mind some warm food or drink either!​​​​​​​

Doncaster DN4 5JS, Darlington DL1 4PG, Newcastle NE11 0JY, Manchester M90 5AA, Peterborough PE2 9EN, Derby DE74 2BB, Coventry CV5 9FA, Rugeley WS15 1LX, Dartford DA1 5PT, Bristol BS11 0YH, Tilbury RM18 7AN, Milton Keynes MK43 0ZA, Dunfermline KY11 8ST 

You can also see a map of Amazon distributions sites here to find your closest one (note: we’re at all the red pins on the map).
Love and Rage,
Extinction Rebellion UK
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On class, egofodder and control: Manchester City Council versus #climate action and democracy

Manchester City Council is – through its usual behaviour – destroying the possibility of an effective response to climate change. This will not come as a shock to anyone who has been paying attention at any point in the last 20 or so years.

They’re doing it actively through airport expansion, new car parks they call “mobility hubs.

They’re doing it passively by not prioritising walking and cycling (latest atrocity on the former topic here),

and not scrutinising their own plans and “progress” (see Climate Emergency Manchester’s Team Scrutiny Fabulous posts).

But I want to talk about one of the hidden, longer-term things that’s going on. And as a man I will steal… sorry, cite, the work of two women.

First up, a new episode of the GreenNew Deal podcast with Dr Jenna Ashton (full disclosure, she’s a friend). In it she talks about how certain politicians (she doesn’t mention names, but we all know who she’s talking about) want to run around saying that people in North Manchester don’t care about climate change. It’s bullshit, but they perceive it as useful/convenient, so they keep spouting it and very few Labour councillors or Labour Party members have the spine to call it out.

The second item is from leafy South Manchester – Didsbury in fact (which was name-checked by Ashton). Here’s an account by Alison Hawdale (full disclosure, another friend) published on Climate Emergency Manchester (full disclosure, until 3 weeks ago I was in its core group). The crucial bit, for my purposes, is this (emphasis added)-

“As you might imagine, the 30 people who attended were a self-selecting section of the public.  I knew quite a few of them, and I imagine there were not many degrees of separation between us all.  If we had been there so that our collective knowledge, experience and passion could be harnessed, then something powerful might have been ignited,  But instead I sat through a talk on how to reduce my personal food waste, and another on how I could organise my own litter-pick.  I’m not saying these things aren’t important, but really we were the wrong audience.  The whole thing could have been on a much more collaborative, problem-solving basis to tackle the issue of reaching out to the thousands of residents of Didsbury East who were not in the room.

“There was one collaborative element to the evening – we were asked to put post-it notes up making comments about the Didsbury East Climate Plan, but by the time I left, none had been put up,  The plan had not been sent out before the meeting, there was only one copy of it available on the night, and very little time to look at it.  I think that the people attending could have provided valuable input into the document, and maybe some of the evening might have been usefully spent on this sort of discussion.  The plan has now been sent out to those who came to the meeting and a group at the Didsbury Climate Cafe intend to take a careful look at it.”

This is vintage Manchester City Council (and other organisations, including, sadly, most so-called civil society/campaigning groups.) Pure info-deficit. Pure neoliberal atomising patronising tosh. What they call engagement I call ego-foddering. They want people to applaud them and then crawl back into their holes and not ask questions. They don’t want independent, non-controllable, persistent and (perhaps) smarter-than-them groups to form. So they make it soul-suckingly boring, intimidating and patronising, so that most people give up and those who remain can be co-opted. And no, it’s not a cunning plan, where they sit around thinking “how can we screw these people?” All they have to do is do things exactly as they’ve been done over the last however many decades, and then wring their hands at low participation. Bourdieu habitus blah blah blah.

This is what I mean by “ego-fodder.”

And you can read this

Ego-foddering: Why is it awful, who benefits, what is to be done? #oldfartclimateadvice #climate

There is a very very strong class component to this. Middle-class people, who “did well” in school (sat in rows, in silence, parrotted back the expected answer) have a higher threshold for this. Working class people, who were on the receiving end of dark sarcasm and much worse, have better things to be doing that putting up with this shit, so they quite rightly don’t, on the whole.

There’s not much we can do about the Council, in the short-term (though we can name what they do for what it is, and should). What we CAN control is how organisations that allegedly have a class/gender/race analysis behave.

But we probably won’t.

Posted in Manchester City Council | Leave a comment

Job Alert – Environmental Action Manager at #Manchester Museum

You want this job.

Deadline to apply is Sunday 28 November. Partial blurb here-

Manchester Museum, at The University of Manchester, is in the midst of its most ambitious capital development in a generation – hello future. Driven by an unparalleled commitment to building understanding between cultures and a more sustainable world, the development is dedicated to establishing the most imaginative, inclusive and caring museum it is possible to encounter. hello future presents an unprecedented opportunity to transform Manchester Museum’s role, reach and relevance – to become more widely and deeply loved.

This newly-created position will play a key role in realising our ambition to establish and oversee the Co-working Hub for Cultural Environmental Action at Manchester Museum. To undertake exploratory and  experimental work to develop new museum narratives and programming around care, emotions and action in response to the climate and ecological crisis.

Seriously, you want this job.

Details here.

Posted in Job Alert | Leave a comment

Will the Council try to learn anything?

Don’t read this letter to the City Solicitor of Manchester City Council below until you read THIS.

Dear Ms Ledden,

Re: Internal Review of Freedom of Information Act request 5790.

thank you for your prompt and thorough internal review, dated 15th November and received by me on 19th November.
Thank you also for the apologies from the Comms team and yourself. 

image.png

What the apology lacks – and what I am writing to you about – is an explanation of how such inaccurate information could have been generated and sent to me in the first place, and what is being done to make a repeat less likely in future.
There is also no indication that any learning is taking place, and that such an occurrence could not recur in the future.
I remain keen to avoid the complaints procedure if I can, as I was keen to avoid an internal review.
I have the following questions, which I trust will be answered promptly and fully.
1. What was the staff level grade of the individual(s) who drafted the inaccurate reply?

2. Was the reply “signed off” by someone of higher grade before being sent? If it was, and that person was a member of the SMT, who was it?

3. Is there any formal process by which officers receive verbal or written warnings for providing inaccurate information to elected members or members of the public who have requested information either through the FOIA or other means?

4.  If there IS a formal process, is it being/has it been applied in this case? If so, what action has been/will be taken?

5.  If there is NOT a formal process, a) why not and is one planned?b) what action is being taken in response to this case.

6. How many apologies has the Comms Team been compelled to make in the last 12 months? 

7. Mostly I am interested in what processes the Council (and let’s narrow it down to the Comms Team for now) has for actually learning from mistakes.  I mean, an apology is good, albeit unexpected, but a real apology contains information about how the behaviour being apologised for is being made – systematically – less likely to occur in future. With relation to this particular release of inaccurate information, what remedial proactive/prophylactic action has been taken/is planned?

Yours sincerely
Marc Hudson

Posted in Manchester City Council | Leave a comment