Manchester City Council will finally reveal how they have been spending the £14.5m “Clean City” Fund. The scheme was set up last year to disperse an unexpected Manchester Airports Group dividend. The Council’s Finance Scrutiny Committee has been successfully lobbied, and is ‘inviting’ Deputy Leader Bernard Priest and Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Rosa Battle, to appear at their Thurs 25th September meeting. They will be joined on the day (10am, Town Hall), by the chief officer in charge of communications, Sara Tomkins.
During the brief discussion about “Clean City” (transcript below) at the committee’s meeting on Thursday August 28th, Councillor Shelley Lanchbury also called on the Council’s communications team to release whatever information they could as soon as possible, and said she was “slightly annoyed” that it hadn’t already been done.
NB The sound drops out of this video from about 1min 30 to 1 min 55, so that you can read the email the Councillors received.
MCFly says: This isn’t actually how democracy is supposed to work, I think. Campaigners shouldn’t have to send emails to all the councillors on a committee and then also turn up to a day-time meeting with a video camera in order for unelected officers to do what they had been instructed to do two months previously by our elected representatives. Manchester’s democracy is not in the best of shape, imho.
If you want to learn new skills, meet interesting people and – via your example – lobby for the creation of a seventh scrutiny committee about environmental matters such as climate, biodiversity, disaster preparedness etc, then check out environmentalscrutiny.info. There are lots of ways of being involved without coming to any meetings. Inevitably though, there are monthly meetings …
Mon 22nd September, 7 to 8.30, Moss Side Community Allotment, cnr Bowes and Caythorpe St
Mon 20th October, 7 to 8.30pm, Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St
– may not be entirely accurate – you can compare against the video. #didmybest
Cllr Ollerhead: Just before, actually … I also want to just address something … I’ve had – we’ve all had – an email from Marc who is sitting in the back. Hello Marc, waving the camera.
Marc sent an email , it’s a [unintelligible] email. We have asked for this previously, it is in the minutes of the last [meeting. So what I am proposing is that we put this onto next month’s meeting. I’ve spoken with Councillor Priest yesterday There wasn’t time to get all the details on there
Cllr Flanagan: Chair, I got the same email. I was going to email Marc, I don’t know if he’s received it yet. But as you know, the Clean City Fund has been reviewed. It isn’t Councillor Priest who’s taking the lead on this, it’s Councillor Rosa Battle. So I think we should invite her.
Cllr Ollerhead: I’ll have to invite Rosa. But it’s the communication element of this. I think what Marc’s getting at is – forgive me Marc if I’m getting this wrong – Marc wants to see exactly how we’ve responded to that
Cllr. Flanagan: Sorry chair, if I’m not mistaken the email also goes into where the fund was up to, and what decisions had been made and as well as the communication element. So if I’m not mistaken, so you’re probably right, both Bernard and Rosa should be here.
Cllr Ollerhead: Yeah, I’ll happily invite Rosa and Bernard as well. Marc, we’ll have something on next month’s meeting for you.
Cllr Lanchbury: Sorry, I was going to raise it too… I actually chaired for that particular meeting. And I remember having a look at the minutes and making sure that they too were very robust about the fact that we wanted – I think I made some changes to begin with (?) – to make sure it was robust about what we wanted in terms of the communication. And I do think that even with having this at the next meeting, we should still say to Communications that there is a point where they could now send out a list on the money that has already been allocated, particularly the small group money. Because we know that small groups that have had money. And I think that this list could be communicated BEFORE the next meeting, and a wider proper communications afterwards. There is stuff that can go out, including the fact that there’s the review going on, and things like that. I am slightly annoyed that it wasn’t done.
Cllr Ollerhead: … okay, so we’ll add that on for next month and invite Sara (Tomkins) back for that as well. So we’ll get Rosa, Bernard and Sara (Tomkins) back for that. So, moving on to…