Councillors are, with a few notable exceptions, hard-working and concerned individuals. Most of them spend a lot of their time and energy trying to help Mancunians who are facing all sorts of problems with the benefits system, or planning problems, or dealing with recycling, potholes etc. On top of this, if they are on one of the six scrutiny committee (and many are – some gluttons for punishment sit on two), they have mountains of paperwork to wade through every month.
So it really really doesn’t help when the “summary” of a report is totally unhelpful to the point of being misleading. And sadly, on climate change, this has happened more than once.
This Tuesday the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee meets (2pm, Manchester Town Hall. Members of the public are ‘welcome’.
The major item, after a Manchester Update, on the agenda is “Manchester Climate Change Action Plan 2014/5 – 2016/7”. The three page summary is littered with adjectives like innovative, flexible and resilient.
At no point does it state the following crucial and simple fact, buried on page 18 (4.1.1)
Emissions went UP between 2011/2 and 2012/3.
Let’s put aside for a second the (much) bigger pictures – of the Airport, of economic growth as a global suicide pact. Let’s ignore the Council’s failure to get other partners to sign up to the Climate Change Action Plan, the cancellation of the Stakeholder Conference and a dozen other debacles.
Let’s simply ask the following questions:
1) Why do Councillors not demand that summaries – for any report – accurately reflect what is contained in the reports they get?
2) Why do Councillors not demand that all reports contain a section entitled “what hasn’t been going to plan, and what we are probably going to fail to achieve”?