Manchester City Council wants to throw its weight around for the greater good – in the form of a Living Wage. Following a resolution by the Council in March to “introduce a Living Wage for all of the Council’s directly and indirectly employed staff and to promote its introduction across the city”, they’re setting up a “Task and Finish” group.
The group, which will be chaired by Councillor Luke Raikes (see video below), will meet four times before reporting back to both the Economy and Finance Scrutiny Committees. The meetings are open to the public, and will happen in September, October, November and January. The other members of the group Councillors Rebecca Moore and Andrew Simcock Sarah Russell, Mark Hackett and Nigel Murphy.
The key objectives of the group are
- To determine how the Council as an employer and procurer of services can maximise the number of people in the city earning the Living Wage.
- To develop an understanding of how other authorities have introduced a Living Wage and identify the best model for introducing a Living Wage in Manchester.
- To develop a step by step plan to implement the Living Wage in all of Manchester’s schools, the Council’s contractors and sub-contractors as soon as is practicable.
- To establish a strong social and economic case of the benefits that introducing a Living Wage will bring to the city, which links to the Council’s strategic priorities.
- To ensure that the introduction of a Living Wage will continue to be meaningful in the long term and resilient to changes in national policy and legislation.
You can find out more here:
Task and Finish groups are sub-groups of councillors (usually from one or two of the six scrutiny committees, but other keen councillors can be a part of ’em). They tend to form to discuss a specific problem that is too unwieldy for any single committee, and which needs further investigation.
A cynic might say that councillors put themselves forward so they have something to put on their next election leaflet, to Show That They Care. But actually, there aren’t that many Alan B’stard councillors – most are doing it because they want to make a difference or because they want to get ahead. And they tend to actually be interested/care about the issue (I know, call me naïve).
The T and F groups tend to have three “investigatory” meetings where witnesses are called, discussions held. These witnesses won’t just be Town Hall officers, but the great unwashed from the wider world too. There’s a final meeting to stitch things together, and then the Task and Finish group reports back to the committee(s) it came from.
Recommendations are heard, usually accepted and then, theoretically can become enacted. Officers prepare an “action” “plan.” Occasionally – as is happening currently with the Environmental Sustainability Subgroup that came from a suggestion by a former member of the Economy Scrutiny Committee in mid-2013 – the members ask for the implementation plan to have more detail. (“Following endorsement of the final report of the Environmental Sustainability Subgroup its March 2014 meeting, the Committee asked for a report proposing how the recommendations would be measured. This was submitted to the June meeting of the Committee, which asked for a further more detailed version to be provided. ”)
Being the Chair of a Task and Finish is a good way to show the rest of the Labour group whether you have the makings of a potential “Doer” (can you run good meetings, ask the right questions, get on with officers of all qualities etc etc). Kate Chappell chaired the above-mentioned Environmental Sustainability Sub-group, but had to relinquish the role for the final meeting because… she had catapulted to the role of Executive Member for the Environment.