Newsflash: Steering Group steers towards democracy

The Steering Group announced that it will be holding elections for its members. In a surprising policy u-turn,  during today’s stakeholder conference, Steve Connor, chair of  the 32-member Steering Group,  said that they are currently “exploring election mechanisms” so that members can be elected at next year’s conference. He added that they are looking at a co-operative model and details will be finalised by November.

Back in December, the Steering Group came to the decision to by-pass its own democratic protocol of electing members. Mr Connor told Manchester Climate Monthly (MCFly) at the time that “there wasn’t any mechanism for election” and that after a long debate the group had decided against them.

MCFly was quite vocal in its disapproval of the cancellation of elections (see our posts “Never Mind the Ballots” and “The Steering Group, our final word“.)  Based on today’s announcement, it appears we are not the only ones.It’s great to see the Steering Group take its democratic responsibility to be representative more seriously. Let’s hope that this is the start of a more engaged, transparent and accountable way of working.Indeed, one of the major criticism voiced (vented?) by various attendees at today’s conference was that there wasn’t any follow up or communication after the 2010 stakeholder conference.

There wasn’t any effort to keep people engaged and informed and a lot of the people who came along today simply wanted to know what actions had been taken to fulfill the Manchester: A Certain Future plan. At one workshop, Connor was honest enough to admit that the steering group had struggled with attendence and that at best, their record of achievement was mixed. The reality is that there has been little effort to openly assess successes or failures of the steering group and this effective two-year silence has left a lot of people disgruntled.

Full conference report to follow imminently

Arwa Aburawa
Freelance Journalist